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Egils Levits
Egils Levits at the Enthronement of Naruhito (1).jpg
Levits in 2019
10th President of Latvia
In office
8 July 2019 – 8 July 2023
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš
Preceded by Raimonds Vējonis
Succeeded by Edgars Rinkēvičs
Judge of the European Court of Justice
In office
11 May 2004 – 17 June 2019
Preceded by Fidelma Macken
Succeeded by Niilo Jääskinen
Vice-Prime Minister of Latvia
In office
3 August 1993 – 19 September 1994
President Guntis Ulmanis
Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs
Minister of Justice of Latvia
In office
3 August 1993 – 19 September 1994
President Guntis Ulmanis
Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs
Preceded by Viktors Skudra
Succeeded by Romāns Apsītis
Member of Parliament
In office
7 July 1993 – 5 October 1994
Personal details
Born (1955-06-30) 30 June 1955 (age 68)
Riga, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union (now Latvia)
Political party Latvian Way (1993–1994)
Andra Levite
(m. 1991)
Children 2
Parents Ingeborga Levita [lv]
Jonass Levits
Residence Riga Castle
Alma mater University of Hamburg
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Jurist

Egils Levits (born 30 June 1955) is a Latvian politician, lawyer, political scientist and jurist who served as the tenth president of Latvia from 2019 to 2023. He was a member of the European Court of Justice from 2004 to 2019.

During the late Soviet-era, he was a member of the Popular Front of Latvia and contributed to the declaration of restored Latvian independence in 1990. He was vice-prime minister and minister for justice of Latvia from 1993 to 1994 and ambassador to Hungary, Austria and Switzerland from 1994 to 1995. He was then appointed a judge of the European Court of Human Rights, a position he held until 2004. He finished second in the indirect election for the president of Latvia in 2015, behind Raimonds Vējonis. Although an Independent, he was the candidate of the National Alliance. In 2018, Levits was reappointed a judge of the European Court of Justice, having first been appointed in 2004. He is married and has two children: a son, Linards, and daughter, Indra. He published a book of memoirs in 2019.

He announced in early May 2023 that he would not run for reelection to the presidency and, on 31 May, Edgars Rinkēvičs was elected as his successor.

Early life

Levits was born in Riga, into the family of Latvian Jewish engineer Jonass Levits and his mother, Latvian-Baltic German poet Ingeborga Levita [lv] (née Barga, pen name Aija Zemzare). In 1972, the family was expelled from the USSR for their Soviet dissident activities and settled in West Germany, where Ingeborga's relatives lived. They lived in West Germany until 1990 when Latvia regained its independence.

Levits has stated in interviews that despite being of Jewish and German heritage, he identifies foremost as Latvian, and called on Latvian citizens of non-Latvian origin to adopt a similar stance.

Political career

Ministru prezidents Valdis Dombrovskis tiekas ar Eiropas Kopienu tiesas tiesnesi Egilu Levitu (7995396024)
Levits meeting with the prime minister of Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis in 2012 as a judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Levits has been involved in Latvian politics since the late 1980s. Levits became a member of the Popular Front of Latvia and a member of the Latvian Citizens' Congress established in 1989. Later, he joined the political club "Klubs 21" and in 1993 was elected a 5th Saeima deputy from the list of the party Latvijas Ceļš. In 2016, he was among the best paid EU officials. In 2018, he was named the "European Person of the Year in Latvia" by the European Movement – Latvia.

He has been an ambassador of Latvia to Austria, Switzerland and Hungary.

He is the co-author of the preamble to the Constitution of Latvia and has been the head for Commission for Constitutional Law, working under the president together with lawyer Lauris Liepa.

Presidential campaigns

Valsts prezidenta vēlēšanas (18385674306)
Levits meeting with his supporters outside the Saeima during the 2015 presidential elections

Levits was named a presidential candidate by the National Alliance party in 2011 and 2015, coming second in votes in the final round to the minister of defense Raimonds Vējonis in 2015. Levits was widely discussed as a potential frontrunner candidate for the presidency in early 2019, and on April 15 the parties of the ruling coalition announced that they would support Levits' candidacy. Latvia's parliament elected him on 29 May 2019.


Ukrainas prezidenta vizīte Latvijā - 48907175028
Levits with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during Zelensky's visit to Latvia in 2019
Secretary Blinken Meets With Latvian President Levits (51930474468)
Levits with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during Blinken's visit to Latvia in 2022

Levits was inaugurated in the Saeima on 8 July 2019. During his inaugural speech, he noted that "there is no ideal country, because that implies halted progress." After the ceremony, he visited the Freedom Monument, laid flowers at the grave of Jānis Čakste, and received the keys to Riga Castle from outgoing president Raimonds Vējonis. On July 10, he conducted his first foreign visit to Tallinn, Estonia, meeting with President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

In August 2021, Levits made an official visit to Sweden, meeting King Carl XVI Gustaf to mark the centenary of diplomatic relations and the 30th anniversary of Latvian independence.

In September 2021, Levits was accused of putting inappropriate pressure on members of the Development/For! party alliance to nominate his legal advisor Irēna Kucina to a position on the Constitutional Court. Levits admitted that a phone call with those party members had taken place, but denied making any threats and called the controversy a "misunderstanding".

According to the data of the public opinion research firm SKDS, in March 2023, 27% of Latvian citizens rated Egils Levits activity positively, and 64% negatively. On 10 May 2023, it became known that President Levits will not run in the 2023 Latvian presidential election on 31 May, although he previously announced his readiness to run for a second term.

Judicial career

In 1995, Levits was elected representative of Latvia for European Court of Human Rights. Since 2004, he has been Latvia's representative to the European Court of Justice, where the mandate will expire in 2024.

Political views

Levits has expressed traditionally conservative views on issues in Latvian politics. During his time as a European judge, he has been involved in and commented on current developments in Latvia; for example, he said that neither the reception of refugees nor the Istanbul Convention violate the Constitution of Latvia. Levits has expressed scepticism about enacting major change to the financial system, calling Latvia one of the strongest economies in Europe.

Levits has also supported many initiatives to reduce the use of Russian language in Latvia, including promulgating amendments banning private universities to employ instruction in languages other than the official languages of the European Union, and reaffirmed that Latvian non-citizens (even Latvian-born) must first pass a Latvian literacy test to receive citizenship. Levits is not a member of any political party, and has expressed a wish to remain independent.

Personal life

Valsts prezidenta vēlēšanas (18228040759)
Egils Levits with his wife Andra (left) and daughter Indra (right)

Levits is married to Andra Levite, a gynecologist, and has a son named Linards and a daughter named Indra. In 2019, Levits released his first book Valstsgriba. Idejas un domas Latvijai 1985–2018 (Country's Will: Ideas and thoughts for Latvia 1985–2018) where he mentions articles, interviews and combines them with his personal opinion as a Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. Aside from his native Latvian language, he also knows German (from his time in Germany), English, French and Russian.



  •  Latvia: Grand Master and Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars (8 July 2019)
  •  Latvia: Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Viesturs (8 July 2019)
  •  Latvia: Grand Master of the Cross of Recognition (8 July 2019)


See also

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