|9th President of Latvia|
July 8, 2015 - 8 July 2019
Arturs Kri?j?nis Kari
|Minister of Defence|
22 January 2014 - 7 July 2015
|Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development|
7 November 2002 - 25 October 2011
|Born||15 June 1966|
Nikonovo, Pskov Oblast, Soviet Union (now Russia)
|Political party||Green Party|
|Alma mater||University of Latvia|
Raimonds V?jonis (born 15 June 1966) is a Latvian politician who served as the 9th President of Latvia from 2015 to 2019. He is a member of the 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.
V?jonis 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 Sarka?i and attended school in the nearby town of Madona. V?jonis became interested in environmental protection because his grandfather had been blinded by chemicals used on a Soviet collective farm.
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 Getli?i Eko waste management company.
In 2002 V?jonis became Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
He was elected as President of Latvia on 3 June 2015, receiving the votes of 55 of the 100 members of the Saeima. He used his victory speech to promise to ensure national security, in light of events in Ukraine, while protecting the environment. He became the first head of state in the European Union to be a member of a green party. After seven parties were elected to Saeima following the 2018 Latvian parliamentary election and representatives were unsuccessful in agreeing upon a new coalition, V?jonis was called on to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister of Latvia himself. After his first choice of J?nis Bordans from New Conservative Party was rejected by possible coalition partners, V?jonis then nominated Aldis Gobzems of Who owns the state? on November 26, 2018 and gave him a two week deadline to form a government.
In January 2020, V?jonis was elected to a four-year term as president of the Latvian Basketball Association by a wide margin.
On 18 January 2016 V?jonis was hospitalized. He was first transported to the Toxicology and Sepsis Clinic of the Riga East Clinical University Hospital branch Gai?ezers, but a day later was transferred to the Latvian Cardiology Center at Pauls Stradi Clinical University Hospital. 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 V?jonis probably had an infective endocarditis. On January 20 V?jonis 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. 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.
V?jonis left hospital on February 26 to undergo physical therapy at National Rehabilitation Center "Vaivari". 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.