Egils Levits

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Egils Levits
Egils Levits.jpg
Egils Levits in 2012
10th President of Latvia
Assumed office
8 July 2019
Prime MinisterArturs Krišjānis Kariņš
Preceded byRaimonds Vējonis
Judge of the European Court of Justice
In office
2004–2019
Minister for Justice of Latvia
In office
3 August 1993 – 19 September 1994
PresidentGuntis Ulmanis
Prime MinisterValdis Birkavs
Preceded byViktors Skudra
Succeeded byRomāns Apsītis
Personal details
Born (1955-06-30) June 30, 1955 (age 64)
Riga, Soviet Union (now Latvia)
NationalityLatvian
Political partyIndependent
Latvian Way (1993–1994)
Spouse(s)Andra Levite
ResidenceRiga Castle
Alma materUniversity of Hamburg
OccupationLaw

Egils Levits (born 30 June 1955) is a Latvian lawyer, political scientist and judge who is the President of Latvia since July 8, 2019.[1] He has been a Member of the European Court of Justice since 2004.[2]

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.[3] In 2018 Levits was reappointed a Judge of the European Court of Justice.[4] He is married and has two children, a son, Linards, and daughter, Indra.[5] He published a book of memoirs in 2019.[6]

Early life[edit]

Egils Levits was born in Riga, Latvia, during Soviet occupation into the family of Latvian Jewish engineer Jonass Levits and his wife, Latvian poet Ingeborga Levita (née Barga, pen name Aija Zemzare). The family emigrated from the USSR in 1972 and settled in West Germany, where Ingeborg'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.[7]

Political career[edit]

Levits meeting with his supporters outside the Saeima during the 2015 presidential elections

Levits has been involved in Latvian politics since the late 1980s.[8] Levits became a member of the Latvian People's Front Council and a member of the Latvian Citizens' Congress established in 1989.[9] 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.[8]

He has been an Ambassador of Latvia to Austria, Switzerland and Hungary.[9]

He is the co-author of the Preamble to the Constitution of Latvia[10] and has been the head for Commission for Constitutional Law, working under the President together with lawyer Lauris Liepa.[11]

Presidential campaigns[edit]

He was named a presidential candidate by the National Alliance party in 2011 and 2015,[12] coming second in votes in the final round to minister of defense Raimonds Vējonis in 2015.[13] Levits was widely discussed as a potential front runner candidate for the presidency in early 2019,[14] and on April 15 the parties of the ruling coalition announced that they would support Levits' candidacy.[15] Latvia's parliament elected him on 29 May 2019.[16]

Presidency[edit]

He was inaugurated in the Saeima on 8 July.[17] During his inaugural speech, he noted that "there is no ideal country, because that implies halted progress."[18] 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.[19] On July 10, he conducted his first overseas visit to Tallinn, Estonia, meeting with President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.[20][21]

Judicial career[edit]

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.[8]

Political views[edit]

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.[8] Levits has expressed skepticism about enacting major change to the financial system, calling Latvia one of the strongest economies in Europe.[22] Levits is not a member of any political party, and has expressed a wish to remain independent.[11][23]

Personal life[edit]

Egils Levits with his wife Andra (left) and daughter Indra (right)

Levits is married to Andra Levite, a gynecologist, and has a son named Linards and a daughter named Indra.[5] In 2019 Levits released his first book Valstsgriba. Idejas un domas Latvijai 1985–2018 (English: 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.[6] Aside from his native Latvian language, he also knows German (from his time in Germany), English, French and Russian.

Honours[edit]

National Honours

Publications[edit]

  • Levits, Egil (2019). Valstsgriba. Idejas un domas Latvijai 1985–2018 [A Will for Statehood: Ideas and thoughts for Latvia 1985–2018]. Riga. ISBN 9789984840567.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 13. Saeimas balsojums par Egilu Levitu.
  2. ^ "Izraudzīti Latvijas tiesneši Eiropas Kopienu tiesā" (in Latvian). Latvijas Vēstnesis. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Saeima elects Raimonds Vējonis as President of Latvia". Saeima. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  4. ^ having first been appointed in 2004 "Egils Levits appointed as a judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union" Check |url= value (help). Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia. March 1, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Izklaide, DELFI (2015-06-03). "Noslēpumainākā kandidāte uz pirmās lēdijas godu". delfi.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  6. ^ a b Sprūde, Viesturs (15 February 2019). "FOTO: Atver Egila Levita grāmatu "Valstsgriba. Idejas un domas Latvijai"". LA.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  7. ^ "Levits ir pret īpašumu atgriešanu ebreju kopienai". delfi.lv (in Latvian). 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  8. ^ a b c d Fridrihsone, Madara (24 February 2019). "Egils Levits – līdz šim vienīgais pretendents uz prezidenta amatu. Kas viņš ir?". www.lsm.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  9. ^ a b Fridrihsone, Madara (25 May 2015). "EGILS LEVITS". www.lsm.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ "Saeima adds controversial preamble to Latvia's Constitution". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Suhoveckis, Gatis (2 June 2015). "Prezidenta kandidāta portrets: Egils Levits". skaties.lv. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  12. ^ "EU Court Judge Egils Levits' chances of becoming Latvia's president increase". Baltic News Network. April 3, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  13. ^ Collier, Mike (3 June 2015). "LIVE BLOG closed: Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis is elected as Latvia's next president". eng.lsm.lv. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  14. ^ "Public figures from across the spectrum offer show of support for Levits". eng.lsm.lv. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  15. ^ "Coalition parties to nominate Levits for Latvia's president | News | LETA". www.leta.lv. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  16. ^ "Latvian parliament elects former judge Levits president". Reuters. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Latvia's new president Levits sworn into office; parents are of Jewish origin".
  18. ^ "Egils Levits officially becomes President of Latvia". 2019-07-08.
  19. ^ "Egils Levits becomes Latvian president".
  20. ^ "Estonia, Latvia presidents discuss cooperation, including in recycling". 2019-07-10.
  21. ^ "President of Latvia Egils Levits will pay his first working visit to Estonia".
  22. ^ Avotiņš, Viktors (25 September 2018). "Levits: Risks ir – pazaudēt savu valsti". nra.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  23. ^ "Intervija ar Egilu Levitu, Eiropas Savienības Tiesas tiesnesi". Rīta Panorāma. LSM. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.

External links[edit]