Located in the Baltic region, Latvia is a former Soviet state. The country is now a member of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, Along with several other international groups.

This year, the time came around for a vote on the president of Latvia. Incumbent President Egils Levits initially launched a re-election campaign. Shortly after, however, he withdrew from the race. But in regard to foreign policy, things will likely remain fairly similar.

Rinkevics assumes the Presidency

Latvia has a new president in Edgars Rinkevics.

Rinkevics vacates his longtime position as minister of foreign affairs to take his new role. He held that job for over ten years, serving under four prime ministers. At the same time, Rinkevics also ended a brief stint on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe president.

ERR News and Foreign Policy indicated that he's been eager to strengthen ties between Latvia and the West, perhaps most especially via the NATO military alliance.

Rinkevics was elected as a center-right Jauna Vienotiba (New Unity) political party member. New Unity and Nacionala apvieniba (National Alliance) had previously backed Levits, who was technically an Independent. National Alliance is much further to the right on the political spectrum.

But both parties make support of NATO a point of emphasis in their platforms –something of particular importance given the country's location and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the end, Rinkevics prevailed handily over two opponents. One was businessman Uldis Pilens, and another was activist Elina Pinto. Both Pilens and Pinto were officially running as Independents.

But, like Levits before them, they had each received backing from parties. Pilens from the centrist Apvienotais saraksts (United List) and the right-wing Latvija pirmaja vieta (Latvia First). Pinto from the left-leaning progressive (The Progressives).

Formerly, Rinkevics was a member of Latvijas Cels (Latvian Way) and the Reformu partija (Reform Party).

He would hold a number of diplomatic positions over the course of several years. Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis appointed him as the foreign affairs minister in 2011. He was retained in the role by succeeding Prime Ministers Laimdota Straujuma, Maris Kucinskis, and Krisjanis Karins.

He is a former journalist and defense ministry official

Edgars Rinkevics is a native of the coastal city of Jurmala, not far from Riga. He graduated from the University of Latvia, along with the Netherlands' University of Groningen in the mid-1990s. Rinkevics later earned a pair of master's degrees in the United States. He received them from what was then the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the National Defense University.

Along the way, Rinkevics became a journalist with Latvijas Radio, specializing in international affairs subjects. Rinkevics later took on several senior-level jobs in the Latvian Ministry of Defence.