'Progressives' name Elīna Pinto as presidential candidate

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The opposition Progressives party has named its presidential candidate – Elīna Pinto, the head of the business, professionals, and researchers cooperation platform “esiLV”, the head of the party's Saeima faction Kaspars Briškens said in a press briefing on Thursday, May 11.

Elīna Pinto has degrees in law, human rights and democratization, public administration, and financial sustainability, obtained in Latvia, Italy, France, the UK, and Luxembourg. In 2019–2020, she was a presidential advisor on modern state and sustainability affairs. Since 2023, she has been working at the European Commission's mission in Luxembourg.

Progressives leader Briškens said it is now clear that Latvia will soon have a new president, and that society desires to see more decisive moves in the direction of the West.

“Today's challenges require modern thinking,” Briškens said.

Pinto herself said that this is a time of change and threats, which should be managed and described herself as "non-affiliated", meaning that despite being the Progressives' candidate, she is not actually a member of the party.

“Latvia needs decisive and inclusive, energetic and empathetic leadership, needs a far-reaching strategy, far-reaching goals and capacity to gather forces to achieve the goals,” Pinto said.

“The mission is Latvia and I am prepared for this mission, as a non-affiliated candidate, I am prepared to assume national and personal responsibility for Latvia,” Pinto said.

She said that her priorities would be security, including security from violence both at transnational and human levels, and strong support for Ukraine. “We, therefore, need a reformed UN, a strong NATO, and a cohesive EU,” said Pinto.

She also explained that the cornerstones of Latvia's external security are not only cyber protection and the military, but also the civilian flank, every ability to acquire skills for crisis management, assistance, and civil resilience.

Her priorities will also be sustainability and investment in people, education, health, and welfare, including the need to legally protect all families, Pinto said.

Rīga Stradiņš University's political scientist Lelde Metla-Rozentāle, in a conversation with Latvian Radio on Thursday morning, before the Progressives revealed their candidate, said that the right-of-center National Alliance and United List did not support the ideas of the left-leaning Progressives so there was little hope of their candidate winning majority support.

But selecting a candidate in itself is a logical action by the Progressives to show that it is a serious political force with ideas and personalities to offer.

Currently, the only other candidate to declare a run for the top job in the land is businessman Uldis Pīlēns. Presidential candidates can be submitted to the Saeima until May 13. The presidential selection by the 100 members of the Saeima takes place on May 31, 2023.

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