Raimonds Vejonis new president in Latvia
Latvia’s parliament on Wednesday elected Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis as the Baltic state’s new president, first Green Party head of state.
“I would like to improve relations with Russia… but while Russian rockets and heavy weapons remain in Ukraine, that’s not really possible,” the 48-year-old Vejonis said after winning the secret ballot in which 55 out of 100 legislators backed him.
The Latvian president is commander in chief of the armed forces, nominates the prime minister and has the right to propose and return legislation to parliament.
Vejonis will replace centrist Andris Berzins, who took office in 2011.
The European Green Party told AFP that Vejonis, a biologist and 25-year party member, was the first Green member to become a European Union head of state.
He also served as Latvia’s environment minister twice before taking over the defence portfolio in 2014.
My priority without any doubt will be national security, the strengthening of our armed forces and our borders,” he told reporters.
“We’ve already agreed to spend two percent of GDP on defence by 2018, but we need to ask what else we can do to enhance national security.”
Vejonis also vowed to use his presidency to advance Green Party environmental policies.
“As president I’ll have the chance to discuss Green ideas widely… and to ensure that Latvia really is a green country.”
Source and photo: AFP, Yahoo news