New Conservatives also support Levits for second run for presidency

Take note – story published 4 years ago

As of now, two right-of-center parties – the New Conservative Party (JKP), and the National Alliance party – support Egils Levits' candidacy as president of Latvia, reported LTV February 14. Levits meanwhile said his decision on whether to become a candidate depends on coalition-wide support.

"We've decided to support Levits and there's no reason for us to offer our own candidate," said Juta Strīķe, the leader of the JKP faction in parliament.

The National Alliance had earlier voiced support for Levits.

Meanwhile New Unity wants coalition parties to agree upon a single candidate. While Levits is not rejected outright, the other parties want his supporters to deliberate. "It'd be very important for the coalition to find a joint presidential candidate instead of us having a president elected with opposition votes. [..] It's very important to us that the coalition remains stable even after the election," said New Unity's Arvils Ašeradens.

KPV LV and Development/For! have not yet decided whether to support Levits or name their own candidate. 

Levits himself, in an interview to Latvian Television, said that he'd become a candidate only if there's coalition-wide support for him.

"I have to think it over. I have important duties in the EU. The coalition decision, of course, is also a very important argument on whether I become a candidate," said Levits.

His motivation to try to become Latvia's president, he said, was the country itself. "For that, one doesn't necessarily have to become president. I can [help the Latvian state] as a scientist, and as a judge, and as a public employee. But my motivation is always strengthening and improving the Latvian state," said Levits. 

Levits is a Judge of the European Court of Justice. His candidacy was floated in the 2015 presidential election as well, but he lost out in the final Saeima vote to Raimonds Vējonis, as recounted in our liveblog from that day four years ago.

Levits, 63, was born in Rīga but his family emigrated to Germany when he was young.

He is a well-known legal expert who contributed to the declaration of renewed Latvian independence in 1990. He also drafted the controversial preamble to Latvia's Constitution, adopted in 2014, which inter alia says that Latvia's national identity includes "universal and Christian values". 

Perhaps best characterized as a moderate nationalist, Levits also dug up a somewhat contested term valstsgriba (will to state), likewise inserted in the preamble, to stress the narrative that the existence of Latvia is the result of a concerted exercise of will on the part of ethnic Latvians.

Just months before the election, the state bulletin Latvijas Vēstnesis is to publish a 800-page collection of Levits' essays on valstsgriba on February 15. 

Latvia elects its president - its chief defense official who also has the power to veto bills and nominate PM candidates - in a parliamentary vote. The country recently made the ballot open, meaning people will know how MPs voted. 

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