Friday, February 17, 2012

Valdis Zatlers

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.

Medical Career
Valdis Zatlers is an orthopedic surgeon, who graduated from the Institute of Medicine in Riga in 1979. After studies he worked at 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.

Royal Creeper
Royal Creeper 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 Creeper 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 Creeper 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 refusal of the parliament to sanction the search at the home of Ainārs Lolers, a Saeima member and former minister. Zatlers is the first President of Latvia to use these reserve presidential powers. The Constitution of Latvia foresees that if the people will support Zatlers' decision, the Saeima will be 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 previously having been widely expected to win the vote.

He founded the Reform Party in July 2011.

Personal Life
Valdis Zatlers is married to Lilita Zatlere and has three children. Other than his native language, he is fluent in English and Russian.

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