Andris Bērziņš (Latvian President)

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Andris Bērziņš
Flickr - Saeima - 10.Saeimas deputāts Andris Bērziņš (ievēlēts no Vidzemes apgabala).jpg
8th President of Latvia
In office
8 July 2011 – 8 July 2015
Prime MinisterValdis Dombrovskis
Laimdota Straujuma
Preceded byValdis Zatlers
Succeeded byRaimonds Vējonis
Personal details
Born (1944-12-10) 10 December 1944 (age 77)
Nītaure, Latvian SSR
Political partyCommunist Party (Before 1990)
Popular Front (1990–1993)
Union of Greens and Farmers (2002–2011)
Independent (2011–present)
Spouse(s)Dzintra Bērziņa (past)
Dace Seisuma (2011–2016, div.)
Children5 children
Alma materRiga Technical University
University of Latvia

Andris Bērziņš (born 10 December 1944) is a Latvian businessman and politician who was President of Latvia from 2011 to 2015. Bērziņš was the President of Unibanka from 1993 to 2004.[1] He was elected as President by the Saeima on 2 June 2011.[2]

Early career[edit]

Andris Bērziņš was born 10 December 1944 in Nītaure, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union. In 1958 he completed studies at a Nītaure primary school and attended the 1st secondary school of Sigulda from 1958 to 1962. He then began studying at the Riga Polytechnical Institute,[3] which he graduated in 1971, and became a radio engineer at the "Elektrons" factory. He worked his way up to the director and in 1988 was appointed deputy minister of municipal services of the Latvian SSR. He also studied at the Economics Faculty of the Latvian State University, which he graduated in 1988.[3]

In 1989 Bērziņš was elected to the Valmiera district Council (Soviet) of People's Deputies and was appointed chairman of the district's executive committee. In 1990 he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR, representing Valmiera. He joined the Latvian Popular Front faction in the Supreme Council. On 4 May 1990, he voted in favour of the declaration that restored the independence of the Republic of Latvia.

After the completion of his term as deputy in 1993, Bērziņš became chairman of the Privatization Fund of the Bank of Latvia.[4] He also became president of Latvijas Unibanka (a joint-stock company; 1993–2004).[5] Bērziņš became a successful businessman and his estate exceeded 1 000 000 lats (by the mid 2000s). He also owned 30 various land properties. Bērziņš worked as an advisor to the president of the SEB Bank Latvian branch and was a board member of several joint-stock companies, including Valmieras stikla šķiedra and Lode Brickworks.

Political career[edit]

Andris Bērziņš returned to politics in 2005 when he unsuccessfully ran for the office of Mayor of Riga as the leader of the Union of Greens and Farmers party list. From 2006 to 2010 he served as the president of the Latvian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and was also Latvenergo's board chairman (until 2009).

In 2010 Andris Bērziņš was elected deputy of the Saeima from the slate of candidates presented by the Union of Greens and Farmers.[6]

2011 presidential election[edit]

Bērziņš reviewing American and Polish soldiers during the 2014 Latvia Day Parade.

On 23 May 2011 Andris Bērzinš was nominated as a presidential candidate by five Union of Greens and Farmers deputies.[7][8]

In the first round of the election (2 June 2011), Bērziņš received 50 votes for and 48 against, while Valdis Zatlers got 43 for and 55 against (99 lawmakers cast votes, but one was invalid), meaning no one was elected.[9][10] In the second round, held later on the same day, Bērziņš received 53 votes, winning the election.[11] Andris Bērziņš took office as President of Latvia on 8 July 2011.[12]

2015 presidential election[edit]

On 10 April 2015 he announced he would not be seeking the Presidency for a second term.[13]

On 3 June 2015 Raimonds Vējonis was elected as Bērziņš' successor and took office on 8 July 2015.[14]

2017 Riga local election[edit]

Bērziņš announced that he will stand for a councillor seat in the June 2017 election.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Andris Bērziņš married Dace Seisuma a couple of days before assuming office as President. It is his second marriage.[16] He has 5 children. His uncle was a casualty of the Soviet deportations from Latvia, dying in what is now Tajikistan in 1943.[17] Aside from his native Latvian, he also speaks Russian and English fluently and German on a relatively good level.[18] When questioned on his use of Russian instead of Latvian at certain events, he said that "The question of language is often politicized, because it is a very cheap way to conduct an election campaign".[19] He has also encouraged Latvians to start to learn Russian alongside English.[20]

On 3 September 2012, Bērziņš threatened TV news crew which was filming him coming alongside his son on the first day of the school year: "Guys, you want me to beat you over the head? It's been a long time since you've been beaten?..."[21]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Petrova, Alla (2 June 2011). "Andris Berzins – newly elected president of Latvia". The Baltic Course. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Andris Berzins elected new president in Latvia". BBC. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Berzins to start fulfilling President of Latvia duties". Baltic News Network. LETA. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Kas ir jaunais prezidents Andris Bērziņš?" (in Latvian). Kas Jauns. 2 June 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Ar otro piegājienu par prezidentu ievēlēts eksbaņķieris Andris Bērziņš" (in Latvian). Delfi. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Saeima to elect Latvia President on June 2". Baltic News Network. LETA. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  7. ^ "ZZS pārstāvji prezidenta amatam izvirza Bērziņu" (in Latvian). Apollo. 23 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Andri Bērziņu prezidenta amatam virzīs pieci ZZS deputāti" (in Latvian). Delfi. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Prezidentu pirmajā balsojumā neievēl: par Zatleru 43, Bērziņam – 50" (in Latvian). Tvnet. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Prezidenta vēlēšanu pirmajā balsojumā 'izgāž' gan Zatleru, gan Bērziņu" (in Latvian). Delfi. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Bērziņu ievēlē par Valsts prezidentu" (in Latvian). TvNet. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Bērziņš nodod svinīgo solījumu un oficiāli stājas prezidenta amatā" (in Latvian). Delfi. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Bērziņš will not run for second term". LETA. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Jaunais Latvijas Valsts prezidents – Raimonds Vējonis" (in Latvian). LSM. 3 June 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Former president attempts a political comeback". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Prezidents Andris Bērziņš apprecējies". 18 September 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011. (in Latvian)
  17. ^ "Президент Латвии перед отъездом посетил могилу своего дяди в Душанбе | Новости Таджикистана ASIA-Plus".
  18. ^ "President of Latvia: Andris Bērziņš". Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  19. ^ "Президент Латвии: я говорил и буду говорить по-русски". 15 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Президент Латвии Андрис Берзиньш: Русский язык дает больше возможностей". 13 December 2012.
  21. ^ Prezidents Bērziņš agresīvs: "Čaļi, pa galvu vajag, ja?". VIDEO
  22. ^ a b c d "President of Latvia Andris Bērziņš". Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  23. ^ "Bērziņš saņems augstākās šķiras Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni". 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011. (in Latvian)
  24. ^ "Bērziņš saņems augstākās šķiras Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni". 7 July 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011. (in Latvian)
  25. ^ "Tildelinger av ordener og medaljer". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 27 April 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of Latvia
Succeeded by