Egils Levits in 2012
|10th President of Latvia|
8 July 2019
|Prime Minister||Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš|
|Preceded by||Raimonds Vējonis|
|Judge of the European Court of Justice|
|Minister for Justice of Latvia|
3 August 1993 –19 September 1994
|Prime Minister||Valdis Birkavs|
|Preceded by||Viktors Skudra|
|Succeeded by||Romāns Apsītis|
|Born||30 June 1955|
Riga, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party|| Latvian Way (1993–1994)|
|Children||Linards Levits, Indra Levita|
|Alma mater||University of Hamburg|
Egils Levits (born 30 June 1955) is a Latvian politician, lawyer, political scientist and jurist who is the President of Latvia since 8 July 2019.He was a Member of the European Court of Justice from 2004 to 2019.
During the late Soviet-era he was a member of the Popular Front of Latvia and contributed to the declaration of renewed Latvian independence in 1990. He was Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Justice of Latvia from 1993 to 1994 and ambassador to Hungary, Austria and Switzerland from 1994 to 1995. He was then appointed a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, a position he held until 2004. He finished second in the indirect election for President of Latvia in 2015 behind Raimonds Vējonis. Although an Independent, he was the candidate of the National Alliance.In 2018, Levits was reappointed a Judge of the European Court of Justice, having first been appointed in 2004. He is married and has two children, a son, Linards, and daughter, Indra. He published a book of memoirs in 2019.
Levits was born in Riga, Latvia, during Soviet occupation into the family of Latvian Jewish engineer Jonass Levits and his wife, Latvian-Baltic German poet Ingeborga Levita (née Barga, pen name Aija Zemzare). In 1972, the family was expelled from the USSR for their Soviet dissident activitiesand settled in West Germany, where Ingeborga's relatives lived. They lived in West Germany until 1990 when Latvia regained its independence.
Levits has stated in interviews that despite his Jewish heritage, he identifies himself foremost as Latvian.
Levits has been involved in Latvian politics since the late 1980s.Levits became a member of the Popular Front of Latvia and a member of the Latvian Citizens' Congress established in 1989. Later, he joined the political club "Klubs 21" and in 1993 was elected a 5th Saeima deputy from the list of the party Latvijas Ceļš. In 2016, he was among the best paid EU officials. In 2018, he was named "European Man of the Year in Latvia" by the European Movement – Latvia.
He has been an Ambassador of Latvia to Austria, Switzerland and Hungary.
He is the co-author of the Preamble to the Constitution of Latviaand has been the head for Commission for Constitutional Law, working under the President together with lawyer Lauris Liepa.
He was named a presidential candidate by the National Alliance party in 2011 and 2015,coming second in votes in the final round to minister of defense Raimonds Vējonis in 2015. Levits was widely discussed as a potential front runner candidate for the presidency in early 2019, and on April 15 the parties of the ruling coalition announced that they would support Levits' candidacy. Latvia's parliament elected him on 29 May 2019.
He was inaugurated in the Saeima on 8 July 2019.During his inaugural speech, he noted that "there is no ideal country, because that implies halted progress." After the ceremony, he visited the Freedom Monument, laid flowers at the grave of Jānis Čakste, and received the keys to Riga Castle from outgoing President Raimonds Vējonis. On July 10, he conducted his first foreign visit to Tallinn, Estonia, meeting with President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
In 1995, Levits was elected representative of Latvia for European Court of Human Rights. Since 2004, he has been Latvia's representative to the European Court of Justice, where the mandate will expire in 2024.
Levits has expressed traditionally conservative views on issues in Latvian politics. During his time as a European judge, he has been involved in and commented on current developments in Latvia; for example, he pointed out that neither the reception of refugees nor the Istanbul Convention violate the Constitution of Latvia.Levits has expressed skepticism about enacting major change to the financial system, calling Latvia one of the strongest economies in Europe. On the topic of Russian language, Levits has undertaken many initiatives to purge its use in Latvia, including banning private universities that employ instruction in any language except English and Latvian, and reaffirmed that Russian nationals (even Latvian-born) must first pass a Latvian literacy test to receive citizenship. Levits has said that "Russian language is a shackle from the darkest days in [Latvia's] history," and that "the only way to be freed from it is to use every opportunity to let it rust away." Levits is not a member of any political party, and has expressed a wish to remain independent.
On the 7 December 2019 episode of Saturday Night Live , Levits was portrayed by Alex Moffat, in a sketch that poked fun at Donald Trump's experience at the 2019 NATO summit.
Levits is married to Andra Levite, a gynecologist, and has a son named Linards and a daughter named Indra.In 2019, Levits released his first book Valstsgriba. Idejas un domas Latvijai 1985–2018 (Country's Will: Ideas and thoughts for Latvia 1985–2018) where he mentions articles, interviews and combines them with his personal opinion as a Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. Aside from his native Latvian language, he also knows German (from his time in Germany), English, French and Russian. In May 2019, he announced in his first interview as the newly elected President that he wouldn't speak Russian to the Russian media, and so its assumed that Levits speaks it on a personal basis.
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| Minister of Justice |
| President of Latvia |