Latvia's presidential candidates: Didzis Šmits

As the three presidential candidates were named officially May 14, LSM presents you with a brief look into the candidates' biographies. 

We continue the mini-series with Didzis Šmits, a Saeima deputy, former spokesman of the European Crabbing Association and current President of Union of Latvian Fish Processing Industry. Šmits was nominated to become president by renegade members of the KPV LV party, which has in effect split into two warring factions.

Šmits, a PR expert, joined KPV LV just months before the parliamentary election and quit a talk show post at Rīga TV24, a commercial TV station which provided KPV LV with lavish coverage ahead of the election. 

Most recently, Šmits withdrew his candidacy for Economics Minister after talks with PM Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) in January.

But as reported by Norway's Dagbladet and LSM, this presidential candidate is no stranger to scandals. Šmits, who was also a spokesman for the Baltjura-serviss fishing company, was mentioned in Dagbladet's coverage of questionable contracts for fishermen and poor working conditions particularly involving employees from Indonesia aboard Latvian and Russian vessels.

Previously, Šmits was part of the now-defunct People's Party and had connections to oligarch Ainārs Šlesers.

Šmits has also worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was the head of Artis Pabriks' (currently Development/For!) office 2004-2007 when Pabriks was Foreign Minister. 

According to his LinkedIn profile, Šmits holds a Master's degree in diplomacy and international law from Universite Paris Sud. 

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