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World’s first openly-gay president has been elected in Latvia

The Latvian parliament has elected the world's first openly-gay President.

Edgars Rinkevics was chosen by the 100-seat Saeima legislature to serve a four-year-term as their head of state yesterday.

He has been the country's top diplomat since 2011, and received 52 votes - one more than required.

Mr Rinkevics announced in 2014 he is 'proudly homosexual'.

After the vote, he tweeted he was 'honoured and humbled' by the Parliament's decision and pledged 'to serve the people of Latvia well'.

Rinkevics, 49, served - among other posts - as a state secretary with the defence ministry and worked as a journalist with Latvian Radio in the 1990s.

As foreign minister, he has enjoyed high popularity among Latvians because of his hard stance toward neighbouring Russia and his unwavering support for Ukraine that is under assault from Moscow.

In a later news conference, Mr Rinkevics urged countries to give Ukraine hopeful signals of a possibility of Nato membership in the military alliance's upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

'It is important that the decisions made at the Nato Madrid (2022) summit are implemented,' the president-elect said, as quoted by the Baltic News Service.

Mr Rinkevics is due to be inaugurated on July 8.

Latvia's presidency is largely a ceremonial post and the head of state acts mainly as an opinion leader and uniting figure in the country where almost a third of residents speak Russian.

The president represents Latvia abroad, acts as the supreme commander of the armed forces, signs Bills into law, nominates the prime minister and has the right to dissolve the Parliament, among other things.

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