|8th President of Latvia|
8 July 2011 - 8 July 2015
|Born||10 December 1944|
|Political party||Communist Party (Before 1990)|
Popular Front (1990-1993)
Union of Greens and Farmers (2002-2011)
|Spouse(s)||Dzintra B?rzi?a (past)|
Dace Seisuma (2011-2016, div.)
|Alma mater||Riga Technical University|
University of Latvia
Andris B?rzi (born 10 December 1944) is a Latvian businessman and politician who was President of Latvia from 2011 to 2015. B?rzi was the President of Unibanka from 1993 to 2004. He was elected as President by the Saeima on 2 June 2011.
Andris B?rzi was born 10 December 1944 in N?taure, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union. In 1958 he completed studies at a N?taure primary school and attended the 1st secondary school of Sigulda from 1958 to 1962. He then began studying at the Riga Polytechnical Institute, which he graduated in 1971, and became a radio engineer at the "Elektrons" factory. He worked his way up to the director and in 1988 was appointed deputy minister of municipal services of the Latvian SSR. He also studied at the Economics Faculty of the Latvian State University, which he graduated in 1988.
In 1989 B?rzi was elected to the Valmiera district Council (Soviet) of People's Deputies and was appointed chairman of the district's executive committee. In 1990 he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR, representing Valmiera. He joined the Latvian Popular Front faction in the Supreme Council. On 4 May 1990, he voted in favour of the declaration that restored the independence of the Republic of Latvia.
After the completion of his term as deputy in 1993, B?rzi became chairman of the Privatization Fund of the Bank of Latvia. He also became president of Latvijas Unibanka (a joint-stock company; 1993-2004). B?rzi became a successful businessman and his estate exceeded 1 000 000 lats (by the mid 2000s). He also owned 30 various land properties. B?rzi worked as an advisor to the president of the SEB Bank Latvian branch and was a board member of several joint-stock companies, including Valmieras stikla iedra and Lode Brickworks.
Andris B?rzi returned to politics in 2005 when he unsuccessfully ran for the office of Mayor of Riga as the leader of the Union of Greens and Farmers party list. From 2006 to 2010 he served as the president of the Latvian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and was also Latvenergo's board chairman (until 2009).
In the first round of the election (2 June 2011), B?rzi received 50 votes for and 48 against, while Valdis Zatlers got 43 for and 55 against (99 lawmakers cast votes, but one was invalid), meaning no one was elected. In the second round, held later on the same day, B?rzi received 53 votes, winning the election. Andris B?rzi took office as President of Latvia on 8 July 2011.
On 10 April 2015 he announced he would not be seeking the Presidency for a second term.
B?rzi announced that he will stand for a councillor seat in the June 2017 election.
Andris B?rzi married Dace Seisuma a couple of days before assuming office as President. It is his second marriage. Aside from his native Latvian, he also speaks Russian. On 3 September 2012, B?rzi threatened TV news crew which was filming him coming alongside his son on the first day of the school year: "Guys, you want me to beat you over the head? It's been a long time since you've been beaten?..."