|9th President of Latvia|
8 July 2015
|Prime Minister||Laimdota Straujuma
|Preceded by||Andris Bērziņš|
|Minister of Defence|
22 January 2014 – 7 July 2015
|Prime Minister||Valdis Dombrovskis
|Preceded by||Artis Pabriks|
|Succeeded by||Raimonds Bergmanis|
|Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development|
7 November 2002 – 25 October 2011
|Prime Minister||Einars Repše
|Preceded by||Vladimirs Makarovs|
|Succeeded by||Edmunds Sprūdžs|
|Born||(1966-06-15) 15 June 1966
Pskov Oblast, Soviet Union (now Russia)
|Political party||Green Party|
|Alma mater||University of Latvia|
Raimonds Vējonis (Rájmonds Véjonis) is the current President of Latvia, in office since 2015. He is a member of the Green Party, part of the Union of Greens and Farmers. Māris Kučinskis served as Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development in 2002 and in 2011 and as Minister of the Environment from 2003 to 2011, while the Ministry of Regional Development was a separate department. He became Minister of Defence of Latvia in 2014 and held that office until becoming President in 2015.
Early life and career
Vējonis was born on June 15, 1966 in Pskov Oblast to a Latvian father and a Russian mother, while his father was serving in the Soviet army there. He grew up in Sarkaņi and attended school in the nearby town of Madona. Vējonis became interested in environmental protection because his grandfather had been blinded by chemicals used on a Soviet collective farm. He graduated from Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia in 1989 and obtained a master’s degree from it in 1995. During his studies he worked as a biology teacher in Madona. From 1989 to 1996 he was deputy director of Madona Regional Environmental board. He was a member of Madona city council from 1990 to 1993. From 1996 to 2002 he was director of Greater Riga R in Skulte port and served as state representative at Getliņi Eko waste management company.
Vējonis became Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development on 7 November 2001.
On January 18, 2016 Vējonis was hospitalized. He was first transported to the Toxicology and sepsis clinic of the Riga East Clinical University Hospital branch Gaiļezers, but a day later transferred to the Latvian Cardiology Center at Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital. The press counselor of the president initially did not disclose the nature of the illness and suggested that the president has a viral infection. However independent medical experts theorized that Vējonis probably has an infective endocarditis. On January 20 Vējonis underwent an emergency open heart surgery to eliminate the source of infection in which the heart valve damaged by Sepsis was replaced with an artificial heart valve. Later on unnamed sources told the press that the illness was likely caused by untreated tonsillitis, the press counselor of the president, while still refusing to disclose exact diagnosis, confirmed that the president had been having issues with his throat and his voice had been very hoarse.
Vējonis left hospital on 26 February to undergo physical therapy at National Rehabilitation Center “Vaivari”. He was reported to be doing some work during his illness, but fully resumed his official duties on 30 March after spending more than two months recovering.
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