|7th President of Latvia|
8 July 2007 – 8 July 2011
|Prime Minister||Aigars Kalvītis
|Preceded by||Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga|
|Succeeded by||Andris Bērziņš|
22 March 1955 |
|Political party||Independent (Before 2011)
Reform Party (2011–present)
|Alma mater||Riga Stradiņš University|
Valdis Zatlers (born 22 March 1955) is a Latvian politician and former physician who served as the seventh president of Latvia from 2007 to 2011. He won the Latvian presidential election of 31 May 2007. He became President of Latvia on 8 July 2007 and left office on 7 July 2011 after failing to win reelection for a second term.
Valdis Zatlers is an orthopedic surgeon, who graduated from the Institute of Medicine in Riga in 1979. After his studies he worked in Riga Hospital No. 2 and became chief of its traumatology unit in 1985. He was the director of the Latvian Traumatology and Orthopaedics Hospital from 1994 and chief of its board from 1998. He left these offices on 5 July 2007.
Zatlers participated in the cleanup operations after the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. On 27 April 2007, he received the Order of the Three Stars (Trīs Zvaigžņu Ordenis) of the 4th rank for his contributions in care for health of the patients and promotion of orthopedics in Latvia.
Valdis Zatlers was a board member of the Popular Front of Latvia in 1988–1989. On 22 May 2007, the ruling parliamentary coalition of the Latvian Saeima officially nominated Zatlers as its presidential candidate. Zatlers himself was not a member of any political party, but had signed the manifesto of the People's Party when the party was founded in 1998.
In his TV speech, on 28 May 2011, President Zatlers called for radical reforms to curb the corrupting influence of oligarchs. He accused lawmakers of being soft on corruption and announced that he would use his constitutional powers to initiate a referendum on the dissolution of the current Saeima. The formal cause of this decision was the parliament's refusal to sanction a search at the home of Ainārs Šlesers, a Saeima member and former minister. Zatlers was the first President of Latvia to use these reserve presidential powers. Under the relevant sections of the Constitution of Latvia if the voters had supported Zatlers' decision, the Saeima would have been dismissed and new parliament elections organized.
On 2 June 2011 an MP from the Greens and Farmers' Union, Andris Bērziņš, defeated the incumbent, Valdis Zatlers, in presidential elections despite Zatlers having previously been expected to win the vote.
Before his election he confessed that, as a doctor, he had accepted private donations from his patients. Transparency International has questioned the legality of this practice. Zatlers' supporters point out that donations of this form are accepted by many Latvian doctors. The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) characterized Zatlers' behaviour as improper and has said that it would not finalize its investigation of the matter for several months. In July 2008, KNAB ruled that Zatlers hadn't violated the law by accepting these donations.
Politicians criticized Zatlers for not paying taxes on these gifts. The State Revenue Service, which had previously requested him to pay taxes on the gifts, unable to fine him for tax evasion, fined Zatlers 250 Lats for missing data in officials declaration.
In 2003, Zatlers was the subject of an investigation by KNAB, Latvia's anti-corruption office. The investigation was started based on a request by Āris Auders, a former subordinate of Zatlers who had become the Minister of Healthcare. Auders had accused Zatlers of buying low-quality spinal implants from companies run by Zatlers' wife and the deputy director of Zatlers' hospital. The investigation cleared Zatlers of all charges.
Honours and awards
- Order of the Three Stars Class I with Chain (2008)
- Order of Viesturs class I (2008)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav ("For outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship and development co-operation between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Latvia." – 2 September 2008)
- Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise First Class (Ukraine, 2008)
- Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonia, 2009)
- Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain, 2009)
- St. George's Order of Victory (Georgia, 2009)
- Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose (Finland, 2010)
- Grand Cross with Golden Chain of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania, 2011)
- Honorary doctorates of Yerevan State University (2009), John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (2010) and the Riga Stradiņš University in Riga (2010)
- Order of Liberty (Ukraine, 26 April 2011)
- "Latvia elects doctor as president". BBC News. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007.
- "Unknown surgeon elected president". The Baltic Times. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2007.
- "Valdis Zatlers' Curriculum vitae". Chancery of the President of Latvia. Retrieved 15 October 2007.
- "Zatleram piešķirs Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni, Viestura ordeni un Atzinības krustu" (in Latvian). apollo.lv. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
- "Profile: Valdis Zatlers – surgeon, political newcomer, president". eux.tv. 31 May 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2007.
- "Koalīcijas partijas izvirza Zatleru Valsts prezidenta amatam". apollo.lv (in Latvian). 22 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007.
- "Zatlers nolemj rosināt Saeimas atlaišanu" [Zatlers decides to initiate thedissolution of the Saeima]. Delfi (in Latvian). 28 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Zatlers ir Latvijas vēsturē pirmais Saeimas atlaišanas ierosinātājs" [Zatlers is the first initiator of the Saeima dissolution in Latvian history]. Delfi (in Latvian). 28 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Andris Berzins elected new president in Latvia". BBC News. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Latvian political parties undergo major upheaval". Baltictimes.com. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "TI Latvia Asks KNAB, VID To Explain Whether Valdis Zatlers Could be Charged With Criminal Offences for Accepting Payments, Other Benefits From Patients". delna.lv. Retrieved 1 June 2007.[dead link]
- "Kalvītis: ārstu 'pateicības' ir valdības, nevis Zatlera problēma". delfi.lv (in Latvian). 30 May 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
- "KNAB nesodīs Zatleru par ņemtajām pateicībām, taču ierosina jaunu pārbaudi" (in Latvian). 22 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.[dead link]
- "VID: Zatleram jāsamaksā nodokļi par 'aplokšņu' atlīdzību". delfi.lv (in Latvian). 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
- "Zatlers samaksājis 250 latu sodu par neprecizitātēm ienākumu deklarācijā". delfi.lv (in Latvian). 4 July 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
- "Zatlers ir prezidents". tvnet.lv/LETA (in Latvian). 31 May 2007. Archived from the original on 20 June 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
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