Latvian defence minister elected president

Riga, June 3 (IANS) Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis was elected the Baltic country’s new president at an extraordinary parliament session on Wednesday, media reported.

It took five rounds of secret voting to ensure Vejonis’ victory in the 2015 presidential election.

He was elected president by 55 votes to 42. One ballot paper was declared invalid, Xinhua reported.

Rival candidates, namely Martins Bondars of the opposition Latvian Bloc of Regions (LRA), Sergejs Dolgopolovs of the opposition leftist Harmony party and Egils Levits, a judge at the European Court of Justice, were eliminated in the first four rounds of voting earlier on Wednesday.

President-elect Vejonis, 49, has served in several previous Latvian governments as environmental protection and regional development minister. He holds a master’s degree in biology from the University of Latvia .

Vejonis has been elected to the Latvian parliament twice and has been holding the portfolio of defence minister in Latvia’s current centre-right cabinet.

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