Raimonds Vējonis (born 15 June 1966) is a Latvian politician who served as the 9th President of Latvia from 2015 to 2019 and the president of the Latvian Basketball Association since 2020.

Raimonds Vējonis
Vējonis in 2019
President of the Latvian Basketball Association
Assumed office
21 January 2020
Preceded byValdis Voins
9th President of Latvia
In office
8 July 2015 – 8 July 2019
Prime MinisterLaimdota Straujuma
Māris Kučinskis
Krišjānis Kariņš
Preceded byAndris Bērziņš
Succeeded byEgils Levits
Minister of Defence
In office
22 January 2014 – 7 July 2015
Prime MinisterValdis Dombrovskis
Laimdota Straujuma
Preceded byArtis Pabriks
Succeeded byRaimonds Bergmanis
Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
In office
7 November 2002 – 25 October 2011
Prime MinisterEinars Repše
Indulis Emsis
Aigars Kalvītis
Ivars Godmanis
Valdis Dombrovskis
Preceded byVladimirs Makarovs
Succeeded byEdmunds Sprūdžs
Personal details
Born (1966-06-15) 15 June 1966 (age 57)
Nikonovo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Russia)
Political partyGreen Party
(m. 1986)
Alma materUniversity of Latvia

He is a member of the Latvian Green Party, part of the Union of Greens and Farmers. He served as Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development in 2002 and in 2011 and as Minister of the Environment from 2003 to 2011, while the Ministry of Regional Development was a separate department. He became Minister of Defence of Latvia in 2014 and held that office until becoming president in 2015.[1] Since 2020 he is the president of Latvian Basketball Association.

Early life and career edit

Vējonis with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., on 23 August 2016

Vējonis was born on 15 June 1966 in Pskov Oblast to a Latvian father and a Russian mother, while his father was serving in the Soviet army there. He grew up in Sarkaņi and attended school in the nearby town of Madona.[2] Vējonis became interested in environmental protection because his grandfather had been blinded by chemicals used on a Soviet kolkhoz.[3]

He graduated from Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia in 1989 and obtained a master's degree from it in 1995. During his studies he worked as a biology teacher in Madona. From 1989 to 1996 he was deputy director of Madona Regional Environmental board. He was a member of Madona city council from 1990 to 1993. From 1996 to 2002 he was director of Greater Riga Regional Environmental board, during this period he also was a board member in Skulte port and served as state representative at Getliņi Eko waste management company.[4]

Political career edit

In 2002, Vējonis became Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.[5]

He was elected as President of Latvia on 3 June 2015, receiving the votes of 55 of the 100 members of the Saeima.[4] He used his victory speech to promise to ensure national security, in light of events in Ukraine, while protecting the environment.[3] He became the first head of state in the European Union to be a member of a green party.[3][5]

Post-presidency edit

In January 2020, Vējonis was elected to a four-year term as president of the Latvian Basketball Association by a wide margin.[6]

Personal life edit

In 1986, he married Iveta Vējone, a teacher and former first lady. The couple have two sons, Ivo and Nauris.[3]

Vējonis is a Baltic pagan.[3][5] He speaks fluent Russian[7] and decent English in addition to Latvian.

Health problems edit

On 18 January 2016, Vējonis was hospitalized. He was first transported to the Toxicology and Sepsis Clinic of the Riga East Clinical University Hospital branch Gaiļezers, but a day later was transferred to the Latvian Cardiology Center at Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital.[8][9] The press counselor of the president initially did not disclose the nature of the illness and suggested that the president had a viral infection. However, independent medical experts theorized that Vējonis probably had an infective endocarditis. On 20 January Vējonis underwent emergency open heart surgery to eliminate the source of infection in which the heart valve damaged by sepsis was replaced with an artificial heart valve.[10][11] Later on unnamed sources told the press that the illness was likely caused by untreated tonsillitis, the press counselor of the president, while still refusing to disclose exact diagnosis, confirmed that the president had been having issues with his throat and his voice had been very hoarse.[12]

Vējonis left hospital on 26 February to undergo physical therapy at National Rehabilitation Center "Vaivari".[13] He was reported to be doing some work during his illness, but fully resumed his official duties on 30 March after spending more than two months recovering.[14]

Honours edit

National Honours
Foreign Honours

References edit

  1. ^ "The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia: Raimonds Vējonis". Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia. Archived from the original on 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  2. ^ Zirnis, Egīls (21 February 2014). "Vējonis - militāri zaļais kompromiss" (in Latvian). Diena. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Collier, Mike; Sibierski, Mary (3 June 2015). "Latvia elects Vejonis, EU's first Green president". Yahoo!. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Jaunais Latvijas Valsts prezidents - Raimonds Vējonis". Lsm.lv (in Latvian). 3 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Collier, Mike (June 3, 2015). "Latvia provides EU's first "green" president - Raimonds Vējonis". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "Raimonds Vējonis becomes a president again". eng.lsm.lv. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  7. ^ "Latvia's "President with an Accent:" Raimonds Vejonis". Foreigncy.us. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Vējonis šorīt nogādāts Gaiļezera slimnīcā". Skaties.lv. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Prezidenta veselības stāvokli vērtē kā apmierinošu; nozīmēta ārsta uzraudzība". Tvnet.lv. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  10. ^ Paparde, Inga (21 January 2016). "Kardioķirurgi glābj prezidentu". NRA. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Prezidenta Vējoņa sirds operācija noslēgusies". Lsm.lv. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ Cielava, Ieva (26 January 2016). "Kas apdraudēja prezidenta sirdi? (preciz.)". Ir.lv. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  13. ^ "President Vējonis to leave hospital". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. February 26, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "President to resume duties next week". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. March 23, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  15. ^ "Vabariigi President". www.president.ee. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Latvijas Valsts prezidenta mājaslapa". www.president.lv. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  17. ^ Affairs, Ministry of General (18 May 2018). "State visit to Latvia - program - News item - Royal House of the Netherlands". Royal-house.nl. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  18. ^ "УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ №387/2018 Про нагородження Р.Вейоніса орденом князя Ярослава Мудрого". president.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). 2018-11-22.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Latvia
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by President of the Latvian Basketball Association