Bērziņš: I did my best

Latvian President Andris Bērziņš said Monday that he had always done his best during his Presidency, while his potential successors began their as yet undeclared campaigns to succeed him. 

On Friday, Bērziņš announced he would not be seeking a second four-year term in charge of Riga Castle, a decision that - unofficially at least - launched the race to become the next President.

Speaking on LTV's Rita Panorama Monday morning, Bērziņš said he had actually made his decision to hang up his spurs some time ago.

Though the decision was "clearly mine" he said had also taken the decision bearing in mind "those for whom I am responsible."

"I have done a lot, but there's still a lot to be done," he smiled.

He revealed little about his future plans once his term ends in early July and insisted he had always acted in good faith.

Asked if he had made mistakes, he said mistakes were inevitable but that he had never done anything against his principles.

"No - I never did that," he asserted while saying his greatest achievement was "giving opportunities for new exports."

The exact date for the election by parliament of the next President has yet to be fixed, but according to constitutional rules is sure to be in late May or early June.

With Berzins out of the running, attention is turning to who will be his successor. So far, candidates are being extremely coy with only Martins Bondars of the Regional Alliance going public with his desire to run.

Other names being widely discussed include MEP Sandra Kalniete, European Court of Human Rights judge Egils Levits and Marcis Auzins, the current rector of the University of Latvia.

The name of former Foreign Minister and current Latvian ambassador to NATO Maris Riekstins is also being whispered, though there is no sign of former European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs throwing his hat back into the ring as yet, after he discounted himself from the race earlier in the year.

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