European court judge elected as Latvia’s new president

May 29, 2019

HELSINKI (AP) — Latvian lawmakers have elected Egils Levits, a judge with the European Court of Justice, to become the Baltic nation’s head of state. Incumbent Raimonds Vejonis declined to seek another four-year term in office.

Latvia’s 100-seat legislature, the Saeima, elected Levits, a 63-year-old lawyer and political scientist educated in Germany, on Wednesday.

The clear favorite, Levits received 61 votes already in the first round of voting, well above the 51 needed to win the election.

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 neighboring Russia.