Valdis Birkavs (born July 28, 1942) is a Latvian politician. He was born in Riga. Birkavs attended the University of Latvia, where he studied philosophy, sociology, law, psychology and mathematical logic. He was first elected to the Latvian parliament in 1990 and helped to found the Latvian Way party. After Latvian Way won the 1993 parliamentary elections, Birkavs became the prime minister, leading a coalition government of Latvian Way and Latvian Farmers' Union. He resigned after Farmer's Union left the government in the summer of 1994. He then became the deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the next government. He remained the foreign minister for five years under four different prime ministers, eventually resigning in 1999. In the presidential elections of 1999 (Latvia's president is chosen by the Parliament) he was nominated as a candidate and received second place. He was then appointed as minister of justice, and served in that position until 2000.
Birkavs is a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.
^The Club of Madrid is an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries. It constitutes the world´s largest forum of former Heads of State and Government, who have come together to respond to a growing demand for support among leaders in democratic leadership, governance, crisis and post-crisis situations. All lines of work share the common goal of building functional and inclusive societies, where the leadership experience of our Members is most valuable.