RIGA, Latvia (AP) — The Ukraine crisis will be top of the agenda as Latvia's Parliament votes for a new president on Wednesday.
Four candidates have put their names forward in a bid to win a four-year term, with regional security a big talking point.
The former Soviet republic has been put on edge by Russia's intervention in Ukraine and welcomed a build-up of NATO forces in the region amid what they see as a threat from Moscow.
"There's great concern about the events in Ukraine and the attitude Russia is taking to international law," former President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, in office 1999-2007, told The Associated Press. "I think whichever president gets elected needs to take an interest in our security."
The ballots are secret and lawmakers don't necessarily follow party lines, making it difficult to predict the outcome.
Many political analysts consider current Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis and Egils Levits, a judge in the European Court of Justice, as the front-runners.
The other candidates are former basketball star and banker Martins Bondars and Sergejs Dolgopolovs, a member of a pro-Russia party with support from Latvia's Russian minority.
Dolgopolovs said that he would try to reconcile differences between Latvians and Russians if elected president of the country of 2.1 million people.
Incumbent Andris Berzins is not seeking another term, citing family reasons.
The winner needs 51 votes in the 100-seat Parliament, which currently has only 99 members because one is suspended pending an investigation into financial affairs.
If no one gets 51 votes on Tuesday, a new vote will be held in 10 days.