Latvia Elects Egils Levits as the New President
Latvian lawmakers on Wednesday elected former dissident Egils Levits, a judge with the European Court of Justice, as the new president.
Levits, a 63-year-old lawyer and political scientist educated at the University of Hamburg, received 61 votes in the Saeima, Latvia’s 100-seat legislature, well above the 51 votes needed to win the election.
Incumbent Raimonds Vejonis declined to seek another four-year term in office.
Two other candidates, lawmaker Didzis Smits and human rights ombudsman Juris Jansons, were also in the running.
The president is Latvia’s formal figurehead, representing the European Union country of 1.9 million abroad and acting as the supreme commander of the armed forces in this small NATO nation neighbouring Russia. The head of state also signs bills into laws, ratifies treaties, appoints the prime minister and has the right to dissolve the parliament.