Home Europe Rinkevics sworn in as Latvian president, first gay EU head of state

Rinkevics sworn in as Latvian president, first gay EU head of state

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Rinkevics was the longest-serving foreign minister in the country’s history.

Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia’s longest-serving foreign minister, today became the first openly gay head of state in the European Union. 

As he was sworn in as the country’s new president, pledged to fight for inclusion and equality.

During his inaugural address to the parliament, which elected him on 31 May, he said he would use his limited powers to influence legislation and shape public opinion to make Latvia a more inclusive and egalitarian country.

“Latvia is a sovereign, free and democratic country. But it must be legal and fair for all. Every person in Latvia, its citizens, must feel that they belong, legally protected and safe,” said the new president in an apparent reference to his earlier support for a gender-neutral civil unions law.

Rinkevics was foreign minister from 2011 until his official resignation on Friday and went public with his sexual orientation in November 2014.

In his inauguration speech he referred to inclusion by stating that “in Latvia, the rights of every person must be respected and protected in accordance with the highest human rights values and standards”.

“I am ready to work closely with the legislature, executive and judiciary to achieve these goals,” he added.

On foreign policy, the new president stressed: “Latvia will stand for a strong and effective NATO, the European Union, a law-based international order and close cooperation with our friends and allies. We will continue to support the heroic Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom until the victory of Ukraine”

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