Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics was elected President of Latvia in the third round of voting on May 31, with 52 votes out of the 100 MPs participating in the election. For a president to be elected, the candidate needes to collect at least 51 votes.
Three presidential candidates were running for office: diaspora activist Elina Pinto, entrepreneur Uldis Pilens and Rinkevics. In the third round, 25 MPs still voted for Pilens.
The election could damage the ruling three-party coalition, which has been unable to agree on a single candidate. The election of Rinkevics could precipitate the formation of a new coalition under the ruling New Unity party as the other two coalition parties are unhappy about New Unity holding the presidency as well as the premiership.
Rinkevics said immediately after being elected: "I would like to say thanks to those who supported me and those who did not. I think that this process, the discussions with my rivals, showed Latvian democracy at a very high level. I will do everything so that our country blossoms and so that our society is unified, and I am ready to cooperate with the Saeima [the Latvian parliament[ and the government," reported eng.lsm.lv, the English-language version of Latvian national broadcaster LSM.
Rinkevics told LSM that Latvia would continue on its Western-oriented path. "Support for Ukraine, a very strong policy when it comes to the Russian aggression" and continued active participation in "Nato and the EU as the cornerstones of our foreign policy" would mean "no surprises, no changes", he said.
Before the decisive vote, Prime Minister Krisjanis Kariņs told LSM he was fully focused on Rinkevics securing the presidency but refused to be drawn on whether there would be imminent changes in the composition of his government.
Before the vote, Pilens had the support of the United List (16 votes), Latvia First (9 votes), and unaffiliated Glorija Grevcova (1 vote). Rinkevics was supported by the New Unity (26 votes). Pinto had the clear support of the Progressives (10 votes).
In the first and second round sof voting, 42 MPs voted for Edgars Rinkevics. In the first round, Pilens was supported by his United List party and Latvia First; Rinkevics got the support of his New Unity party and the Union of Greens and Farmers; Elina Pinto got the votes of Progressives. The National Alliance and For Stability! factions voted against all three candidates. Since the president was not elected in the second round, the candidate with the least votes withdrew, in this case Elina Pinto.