Latvian President Fails to Win Re-election Bid

Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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A lawmaker and former banker has won Latvia's presidential election, defeating incumbent Valdis Zatlers who days before had called for the dissolution of parliament.

Andris Berzins won the second round of voting Thursday with a simple majority of 53 votes in the 100-seat parliament. The first round of voting failed to produce a winner. The 66-year-old Berzins is a member of the Greens and Farmers' Union, which is part of the coalition government.

Thursday's vote showed splits within the coalition as Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis' Unity bloc backed Mr. Zatlers. The 56-year-old leader had been favored to win a second term until he accused lawmakers on Saturday of corruption and called for a referendum on whether to dissolve parliament.

The move led to political uncertainty just as Latvia is beginning to emerge from a deep recession and trying to meet the conditions of a $10.7 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and European Union.