Latvia: is Egils Levits right for the job?

Latvia's parliament has elected Egils Levits, 63, as the country's new president. He was deputy prime minister and minister of justice before being appointed to the European Court of Human Rights. The fact that he graduated high school and college in Germany is seen as a sign of his cosmopolitan outlook. Observers see that as a big plus - as long as he doesn't show off.

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Neatkarīgā (LV) /

President must reach out to normal citizens

Levits' reputation at home will depend largely on whether he also reaches out to the less privileged, comments Neatkarīgā:

“Now it's up to Levits to either continue along his well-lit, safe diplomatic paths or to also tread those narrower, dark alleyways in order to win support from all the people. As he promised in his prepared speech after the election: 'I want to be president for all nationalities, all faiths, all citizens of Latvia: for the poor as well as the rich, for the downtrodden as much as for those on solid ground.' ... He opened with the greeting: 'Dear people of Latvia!' Hopefully they will soon be able to reply: 'Dear President of Latvia!'”

Diena (LV) /

A breath of fresh air for Latvia

The cosmopolitan profile of Latvia's newly elected president will do the country good, Diena applauds:

“The choice of Egils Levits will have a major impact on Latvia's foreign relations, due more to the player himself than to the political direction. The previous three presidents were neither interested in nor capable of involvement in foreign policy, of meeting European and world powers as equals. With Levits, this could all change. ... He is a powerful, charismatic and strong personality who is not caught up in domestic political intrigues. Levits' outlook fuels the hope that he will shake out the old political bedding and renew faith in sensible politics.”