The term of office is four years. Before 1999, it was three years. He or she may be elected any number of times, but not more than twice in a row. In the event of the vacancy in the office of the President, the Speaker of the Saeima assumes the duties of the President. For example, after the death of Jānis Čakste the Speaker of the Saeima, Pauls Kalniņš, was acting president briefly in 1927, before a new President could be elected.
Unlike his Estonian counterpart, the Latvian president's role is not entirely ceremonial. However, he is not as powerful as the President of Lithuania. Unlike in Estonia, he shares executive power with the cabinet and Prime Minister. However, he is not politically responsible for carrying out his duties, and all presidential orders must be countersigned by a member of the cabinet--usually the Prime Minister.
|President of the Republic of Latvia
Latvijas Valsts prezidents
since 8 July 2015
|Term length||Four years|
renewable once, consecutively
|Inaugural holder||Jānis Čakste|
14 November 1922
|Formation||Constitution of Latvia|
|Website||Latvijas Valsts prezidenta mājas lapa|
|Portrait||Term of office||Political party|
|17 December 1918||14 November 1922||Democratic Centre|
|14 November 1922||14 March 1927|
|14 March 1927||8 April 1927||Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party|
|8 April 1927||4 September 1930||Democratic Centre|
|4 September 1930||15 May 1934||Latvian Farmers' Union|
|(3)||16 May 1934||10 April 1936||Independent|
|11 April 1936||21 July 1940||Independent|
|Position vacant (21 July 1940 – 8 July 1993)|
(born 1942)[n 4]
|21 August 1991||13 February 1993||Popular Front of Latvia|
|(—)||13 February 1993||8 July 1993||Latvian Way|
|8 July 1993||8 July 1999||Latvian Farmers' Union|
|8 July 1999||8 July 2007||Independent|
|8 July 2007||8 July 2011||Independent|
|8 July 2011||8 July 2015||Union of Greens and Farmers[n 5]|
|8 July 2015||Incumbent||Latvian Green Party|
There are five living former Latvian Presidents:
Alfrēds Rubiks (Russian: Альфред Петрович Рубикс; born 24 September 1935 in Daugavpils) is a Latvian communist politician and a former leader of the Communist Party of Latvia. He was a Member of the European Parliament for Latvia from 2009 until 2014. In the European Parliament he was a member of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group.
He served as the Chairman of the city of Riga from 1984 to 1990, effectively the last Communist mayor of the city. He was member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from July 1990 until its abolition on 24 August 1991. As head of the Communist Party of Latvia in 1991 he opposed Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union, and was imprisoned in July 1995 for his role in attempting to overthrow the then new democratic government and supporting the August 1991 coup d'état attempt in Moscow. Despite his incarceration, Rubiks was a candidate in the 1996 election for the President of Latvia, but lost to incumbent Guntis Ulmanis. Rubiks was released in November 1997 for good behavior, became chairman of the Socialist Party of Latvia, the de facto successor to the Communist Party, in 1999 and was elected a Member of the European Parliament in the 2009 European Parliament elections.Due to his former allegiance with the Communist Party of Latvia after January 1991, Rubiks is prohibited from running for an electable office in Latvia under Latvian law. His two sons Artūrs Rubiks and Raimonds Rubiks are however members of the Saeima for Harmony.Andris Bērziņš (Latvian President)
Andris Bērziņš (born 10 December 1944) is a Latvian businessman and politician who was President of Latvia from 2011 to 2015. Bērziņš was the President of Unibanka from 1993 to 2004. He was elected as President by the Saeima on 2 June 2011.Finland–Latvia relations
Finland–Latvia relations are foreign relations between Finland and Latvia. Finland has an embassy in Riga. Latvia has an embassy in Helsinki. Both countries are full members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the European Union and the Eurozone.
In 1999, the President of Latvia visited Finland. Finland pledged its support for Latvia to join the European Union.In June 1999, Latvian Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans met Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Kimmo Sasi.Greece–Latvia relations
Greek-Latvian relations are the bilateral relations between Greece and Latvia. Both countries are full members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of NATO and the European Union. The Latvian embassy in Athens was established in 1998. Latvia also has two honorary consulates in Piraeus and in Thessaloniki. The Greek embassy in Riga was opened in January 2005.Guntis Ulmanis
Guntis Ulmanis (born September 13, 1939) is a Latvian politician and was the fifth President of Latvia from 1993 to 1999.Kārlis Ulmanis
Kārlis Augusts Vilhelms Ulmanis (September 4, 1877 in Bērze, Bērze Parish, Courland Governorate, Russian Empire – September 20, 1942 in Krasnovodsk prison, Soviet Union, now Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan) was one of the most prominent Latvian politicians of pre-World War II Latvia during the interwar period of independence from November 1918 to June 1940. He served four times as Prime Minister, the last time as the head of an authoritarian regime. The legacy of his dictatorship still divides public opinion in Latvia.Orders, decorations, and medals of Latvia
Awards and decorations of Latvia are governed by the Republic of Latvia Law on State Honours of 2004, last amended in 2010.Prime Minister of Latvia
The Prime Minister of Latvia (Latvian: Ministru prezidents) is the most powerful member of the Government of Latvia, and presides over the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers. The Prime Minister is nominated by the President of Latvia, but must be able to obtain the support of a majority of the Saeima (parliament).
The tables below display all Latvian Prime Ministers from both the first period of Latvian independence (1918–1940) and since the country regained its independence (1990–present). From 1990 to 6 July 1993, the office was known as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, but is generally considered to have been the same role.
A direct translation of the official Latvian term is Minister-President. Although the equivalent is used in some European languages, it is not used conventionally in English.Pēteris Juraševskis
Pēteris Juraševskis (23 March 1872, Sesava parish – 10 January 1945) held the office of Prime Minister of Latvia from 24 January 1928 – 30 November 1928.Raimonds Pauls
Ojārs Raimonds Pauls (born 12 January 1936 in Iļģuciems, Riga, Latvia) is a Latvian composer and piano player who is well known in Latvia, Russia, post-Soviet countries and world-wide.
He was the Minister of culture of Latvia from 1988 to 1993.Raimonds Vējonis
Raimonds Vējonis (born 15 June 1966) is the current President of Latvia, He has been in office since 2015. He is a member of the Green Party, part of the Union of Greens and Farmers. He served as Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development in 2002 and in 2011 and as Minister of the Environment from 2003 to 2011, while the Ministry of Regional Development was a separate department. He became Minister of Defence of Latvia in 2014 and held that office until becoming President in 2015.Rainis
Rainis was the pseudonym of Jānis Pliekšāns (September 11, 1865 – September 12, 1929), a Latvian poet, playwright, translator, and politician. Rainis' works include the classic plays Uguns un nakts (Fire and Night, 1905) and Indulis un Ārija (Indulis and Ārija, 1911), and a highly regarded translation of Goethe's Faust. His works had a profound influence on the literary Latvian language, and the ethnic symbolism he employed in his major works has been central to Latvian nationalism.Riga Castle
Riga Castle (Latvian: Rīgas pils) is a castle on the banks of River Daugava in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The castle was founded in 1330. Its structure was thoroughly rebuilt between 1497 and 1515. Upon the castle's seizure by the Swedes, they constructed spacious annexes in 1641. The fortress was continually augmented and reconstructed between the 17th and 19th centuries. Sometime in the 1930s, some renovation work was done by architect Eižens Laube. The Latvian government declared the castle its residence in 1938. Today it is the official residence of the President of Latvia as well as home to several museums.Saeima
The Saeima (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈsa.ɛi.ma]) is the parliament of the Republic of Latvia. It is a unicameral parliament consisting of 100 members who are elected by proportional representation, with seats allocated to political parties which gain at least 5% of the popular vote. Elections are scheduled to be held once every four years, normally on the first Saturday of October. The most recent elections were held in October 2018.
The President of Latvia can dismiss the Saeima and request early elections. The procedure for dismissing it involves substantial political risk to the president, including a risk of loss of office. On May 28, 2011, president Valdis Zatlers decided to initiate the dissolution of the Saeima, which was approved in a referendum, and the Saeima was dissolved on 23 July 2011.The current Speaker of the Saeima is Ināra Mūrniece.
Deputies are elected to represent one of five constituencies: Kurzeme (13 deputies), Latgale (15), Riga (30), Vidzeme (27), and Zemgale (15). Seats are distributed in each constituency by open list proportional representation among the parties that overcome a 5% national election threshold using an unmodified version of the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method.Speaker of the Saeima
The Speaker of the Saeima (Latvian: Saeimas priekšsēdētājs, literally: Chairperson of the Saeima) is the speaker of the Parliament of Latvia, the Saeima. In the case when President of Latvia is not in the country or unable to perform their duties, the Speaker acts interim President.
The Chairman of the Saeima must be elected at the first meeting of the current convocation of the Saeima.Union of Greens and Farmers
Union of Greens and Farmers (Latvian: Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, ZZS) is a green conservative, agrarian political alliance in Latvia. It consists of two political parties: the Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS) and the Latvian Green Party (LZP). It is the third largest bloc in the Saeima. The Union of Greens and Farmers also cooperates closely with two regional parties: For Latvia and Ventspils and the Liepāja Party.
Although the ZZS encompasses green politics, usually considered centre-left or left-wing in the context of Western and Central Europe, it may be considered a centrist Nordic agrarian alliance. While the alliance's formal leader is Armands Krauze, its leading figure and chief financial supporter is the oligarch Aivars Lembergs. In 2015 the then leader Raimonds Vējonis became President of Latvia and subsequently resigned his leadership of the alliance.Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (born 1 December 1937) is a Latvian politician who served as the sixth President of Latvia and the first female President of Latvia. She was elected President of Latvia in 1999 and re-elected for the second term in 2003.
Dr. Vaira Freiberga is a professor and interdisciplinary scholar, having published eleven books and numerous articles, essays and book chapters in addition to her extensive speaking engagements.
As President of the Republic of Latvia 1999–2007, she was instrumental in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO for her country. She is active in international politics, was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform and was official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006.
She remains active in the international arena and continues to speak in defense of liberty, equality and social justice, and for the need of Europe to acknowledge the whole of its history. She is a well-known pro-European, as such, in December 2007 she was named vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long-term future of the European Union. She is also known for her work in psycholinguistics, semiotics and analysis of the oral literature of her native country.
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga currently serves as the President of Club of Madrid, the world's largest forum of former Heads of State and Government. She is also a member of the International Programme Board of the Prague European Summit.Valdis Zatlers
Valdis Zatlers (born 22 March 1955) is a Latvian politician and former physician who served as the seventh president of Latvia from 2007 to 2011. He won the Latvian presidential election of 31 May 2007. He became President of Latvia on 8 July 2007 and left office on 7 July 2011 after failing to win reelection for a second term.Voldemārs Zāmuēls
Voldemārs Zāmuēls (22 May 1872, Dzērbene parish – 16 January 1948, Ravensburg, Germany) held the office as Prime Minister of Latvia from 27 January 1924 to 18 December, 1924.
Presidents of Latvia
Heads of state and government of Europe