In an extraordinary session held Wednesday, July 8 at Saeima, Raimonds Vējonis gave the oath of office, becoming president of Latvia
Vējonis became Latvia’s sixth president since the country re-established its independence. He was elected by the Saeima on June 3 with the support of 55 out of 100 MPs. Vējonis replaced outgoing president Andris Bērziņš, who did not run for the second term.
In the presidential address that followed the oath taking, Vējonis stressed security in the broad sense of the word – including social, military, ideological and economic security – to be one of his top priorities in office.
Talking about the presidential office and the president’s duties, he said that “what’s most important is contributing to the development of the state, that the people are prosperous, more happy and more secure.”
Vējonis called for people to think about what’s good for Latvia in the long-term, and said that political neutrality will be an important aspect of his presidency.
Vējonis also said that even though there are often talks about the society being “split” in Latvia, it is “neither wise nor patriotic to stress and exaggerate this divide.”
“We have to work on a common interpretation of the history of Latvia. However, there are no different ‘Latvian’ and ‘non-Latvian’ ways to plow the soil or sow grain,” said Vējonis.
He mentioned the supermarket collapse in Zolitūde a year and a half ago, saying that the nationality of the victims or the rescuers wasn’t important – it’s the human lives, Latvia’s lives that were important.
“That’s why we should remember that love is stronger than holding grudges, and forgiveness is stronger than hate,” said Vējonis.
He also said that we should strive, commonly so that “crooked, populist ideas spread by our opponents don’t become popular.” He said that one of these populist ideas is that Latvia’s integration in the West has not been successful, that we are only getting hurt by the West and that Eastern perspectives are better for Latvia.
The president said that he won’t seclude foreign from interior policy and that his work will be lead by one single task – strengthening the state and security of Latvia.
After receiving the keys to the House of Blackheads where the office of president is currently located, Vējonis also talked with some schoolchildren and foreigners by the Freedom Monument.
President Vējonis will today travel to Estonia to get acquainted with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. He also has a meeting scheduled with Parliament Speaker Eiki Nestor.