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President Valdis Zatlers
Despite his loss, Zatlers said he had no regretsImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Election loss

June 2, 2011

Latvia's incumbent president Valdis Zatlers lost a vote for re-election after moving to dissolve the parliament he said was tainted by corruption. His challenger won in the second round of a secret vote.


Challenger Andris Berzins defeated incumbent Valdis Zatlers to win Latvia's presidential election on Thursday.

The former banker won the vote with 53 votes in the 100-seat parliament during the second round of voting, after the first round failed to produce a winner.

The election came amid high political tensions, after the outgoing President Zatlers moved to dissolve the parliament due to corruption just days before the election.

Zatlers had called for "radical action" to end the clout of "oligarchs."

No regrets

Newly elected Latvian President Andris Berzins, left, speaks with people in Riga
Berzins took the presidency in the second round of votingImage: AP

In Latvia, the parliament chooses the president, and Zatlers acknowledged that his actions may have impacted his political chances. However, he told the AFP news agency on Thursday that he had no regrets.

Although it was a secret ballot, the vote split parliament along party lines. Non-partisan Zatlers was supported by the center-right Unity bloc, and Berzins won the votes of the Greens and Farmers Alliance.

"Thank you for the honor you have shown me," Berzins told parliament after the vote.

Parliament's selection of a different president does not affect the dissolution process. A referendum will be held on July 23, at which time most pollsters expect voters to favor removing the current parliament. New elections would then be held in September.

Author: Sarah Harman (AFP, AP, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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