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Latvian Parliament elects foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics as new president

Latvian Parliament elects foreign minister as new president

Latvian lawmakers picked the country’s long-serving and popular foreign minister, a strong backer of Ukraine, as its new head of state in a tight vote. The 100-seat Saeima legislature elected Edgars Rinkevics, the country’s top diplomat since 2011, as president to serve for a four-year term. He received 52 votes, one vote more than required to win. Incumbent Egils Levits, Latvia’s head of state since 2019, didn’t seek reelection.

His closest rival, businessman Uldis Pilens, got 25 votes in the third round of voting between the two remaining contenders after the third candidate, Elina Pinto, had dropped out of the contest.

Rinkevics, 49, served — among other posts — as a state secretary with the Defense Ministry and worked as a journalist with Latvian Radio in the 1990s. As foreign minister, he has enjoyed high popularity among Latvians because of his hard stance toward neighboring Russia and his unwavering support for Ukraine.

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Latvia is a country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Here are some key points about Latvia:

  • Geography: Latvia shares borders with Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast. The country has a coastline along the Baltic Sea to the west. Latvia’s terrain is predominantly flat, with forests covering a significant portion of its land.
  • History: Latvia has a rich historical background. It was inhabited by Baltic tribes before being conquered by Germanic and Scandinavian powers in the medieval period. The region went through various foreign rule periods, including Swedish, Polish-Lithuanian, and Russian control. Latvia declared independence in 1918 but was later occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. It regained independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Latvian Capital: Riga;
  • Latvian Currency: Euro;
  • Latvian Prime minister: Krisjanis Kariņs.

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