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Former Finance Minister Reizniece-Ozola to swap Saeima for international chess role

Former Latvian Minister of Finance Dana Reiniece-Ozola is to lay down her Saeima mandate in order to take up a job with the governing body of world chess, FIDE, she has announced on her Facebook page January 4.

"The new year has brought a big change in my life - I have accepted an offer to become the Managing Director and Vice Chairman of the Board of the International Chess Federation, FIDE," Reizniece-Ozola wrote.

"I have decided to lay down my mandate so that I can devote all my time and energy to the work of FIDE," she said, adding that she hopes to particularly promote chess among women and children. She is an accomplished player herself and on one occasion won a game against the number one ranked player in the world while still serving in government.

Dārgie draugi! Jaunais gads manā dzīvē nesis lielas pārmaiņas – esmu piekritusi piedāvājumam ieņemt starptautiskās šaha...

Posted by Dana Reizniece-Ozola on Sunday, 3 January 2021

Now in opposition, Reizniece-Ozola's departure will deal a further blow to the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) grouping of which she is part, as she is one of their best-known politicians and one of their most frequent speakers in parliamentary debates. During the recently-completed Fall session of the the Saeima she was the second most frequent speaker of all with 228 speeches made. 

Under the Latvian parliamentary system a Saeima deputy can lay aside their parliamentary mandate without the need for a by-election. Her mandate will be taken up by whomever ZZS decides to nominate in her place, with party chairman Edgars Tavars likely to be her replacement.

FIDE later confirmed the appointment, saying:

"The International Chess Federation is proud to announce the appointment of Dana Reizniece-Ozola as Managing Director. She will be in charge of a wide range of vitally important areas of FIDE work, including administrative and financial matters, as well as functioning of most of the commissions.

"The main directions Ms. Reiznice-Ozola will oversee include chess in education - an area she sees as a top priority. She will also be in charge of development – a field in which Dana can contribute with her vast experience to the good work already done by the FIDE Planning and Development Commission (PDC). The third major line of work will be related to establishing relationships with other international institutions," FIDE said.

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