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Latvia elects Edgars Rinkēvičs as president, EU's first openly gay head of state

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The Latvian Saeima has elected Edgars Rinkēvičs, the country's former foreign minister, as president of Latvia. 52 MPs voted in favor of Rinkēvičs’ candidacy, surpassing the required minimum of 51 votes.

“I am honoured and humbled to be elected as President of the Republic of Latvia, I will do my best to serve the people of Latvia well. I thank Members of Parliament for their trust,” Rinkēvičs said of the voting results.

Businessman Uldis Pilens and lawyer Elina Pinto also took part in the presidential election.

In 2014, when Rinkēvičs was the country's foreign minister, he tweeted that Latvia needed to create a legal regulation for all kinds of partnerships, adding that he was ready to fight for it.

Rinkēvičs also came out via Twitter, saying: “I know that there will immediately be megahysteria but #Proudtobegay.”

The official later confirmed that he wrote the tweet.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Latvia face social challenges not experienced by non-LGBTQ+ residents. There are currently no forms of gay marriage in Latvia, as same-sex marriages are officially banned by the country's constitution.

In 2023, advocacy group ILGA-Europe ranked Latvia 24th out of 27 European Union countries for the protection of LGBTQ+ rights, ahead of Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland.

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