Field of four in race for the presidency

Official nominations to be the next President of Latvia closed Sunday with four people - all male - putting their names forward for the crucial ballot to take place in the Latvian parliament or Saeima on June 3.

The four names in the frame are now confirmed as Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis (Greens and Farmers Alliance), Saeima deputy Martins Bondars (Regional Alliance), Saeima deputy Sergejs Dolgopolovs (Harmony party) and European Court of Justice judge Egils Levits (National Alliance).

The four will face a vote in the 100-member Saeima on June 3 and in the likely event that no-one wins the required 51 votes required to carry the day, the candidate with fewest votes will drop off the ballot.

The process will then be repeated if necessary until just two candidates remain.

However, even at that stage there is no guarantee of victory. With the deputies making the decision able to vote in secret, and to abstain from voting, securing 51 seats can be challenging.

If no decision is made at the head-to-head stage, the parliamentary session will close and new nominees will be accepted for a second round to voting, most likely the following week.

That is precisely the scenario that many commentators are predicting, though of the currently-declared candidates Vejonis and Levits are considered the front runners.

Current President Andris Berzins in April confirmed that he will not seek a second term. His first term runs until July.

Later this week LSM will present a more detailed guide to the presidential vote, a process that's always full of drama and not a few surprises.

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