Coalition candidate announced

  • 2007-05-24
  • By TBT staff
RIGA 's After weeks of discussion, the ruling coalition has finally agreed on a common candidate for president. They will cooperatively nominate Valdis Zatlers, the head of the Traumatology and Orthopedics Hospital, for the post.

The ruling People's Party had previously nominated premier's office head Maris Riekstins for the presidential position. Latvia's First Party and Latvia's Way (LPP/LC) election bloc named parliament lawmaker, former culture minister Karina Petersone their nominee. The coalition parties, however, were unable to reach an agreement on any of these candidates.

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, representing People's Party, told the press that all coalition parties had agreed that Zatlers would be the most appropriate candidate for the Latvian president's post. He said that Zalters has the chance to win Parliament's support.

Kalvitis named responsibility and decisiveness as Zatlers' strongest points. Interior Minister Ivars Godmanis from LPP/LC, meanwhile, told the press that Zatlers possesses all the qualities necessary for a president.

The Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) faction head Augusts Brigmanis said that the decision proves the strength of the coalition, and he voiced appreciation to People's Party and LPP/LC being able to give up their candidates.

The president of Latvian Doctors' Society Peteris Apinis told BNS that he is for the first time truly satisfied with the decision of Latvian politicians. "Latvia deserves to be lead by a successful and honest individual," said Apinis.

Apinis added that Zatlers professional surgeon's career shows that there are few stars like him in surgery. "I consider he understands that he will not be able to operate as excellently as before, that is why, possibly, he has decided to search other paths for growth," said Apinis.

Zatlers, aged 52, in not affiliated with any political party. He has been working in the Traumatology and Orthopedics Hospital since 1994. In 1979 he has graduated from the Riga Medicine Institute.

The elections of the next Latvian president will be held on May 31. The president will be elected in a secret ballot and the candidate should win at least 51 votes in the 100-seat parliament.