Edvards Smiltēns elected new Saeima Speaker

As Members of the new parliament gathered and gave their solemn oaths to the Latvian state in the first meeting on November 1, the Speaker of the Saeima was also elected.

Two candidates were put forward: Edvards Smiltēns (United List) and Aleksejs Rosļikovs (For Stability!). With the absolute majority of votes, Smiltēns took the position as the next Speaker, successor to Ināra Mūrniece (National Alliance) who had been in the seat for eight years.

At the first session of the newly elected Saeima, the Presidium of the Saeima – consisting of five MPs: the Speaker, two Deputy Speakers, the Secretary, and the Deputy Secretary – is elected in an open procedure with ballot papers. 

82 of the new MPs voted for Smiltēns and 11 for Rosļikovs, with respectively 82 votes against Rosļikovs and 11 against Smiltēns.

The other Members of the Presidium are elected next. 

According to the Saeima's official website, the Speaker is one of the top officials of the state who represents the Saeima, chairs and maintains order during the plenary sittings, as well as ensures that the sitting is held in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. The Speaker is elected from among the elected MPs. 

The speaker's duties also include deputizing for the President when the latter is unavailable or indisposed.

38-year-old Smiltēns is the twelfth holder of the office. He has been a member of several different parties in his political career including the Society for Different Politics, Unity (including an attempt to become its leader), and the standalone Latvian Regional Alliance before its current absorption into the United List. In recent years he has been serving on Rīga City Council on a joint Regional Alliance/National Alliance platform and as deputy mayor, positions he will vacate as a result of his election to Saeima. 

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