RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Latvian lawmakers have chosen the defense minister as the Baltic country's next president.
It took five rounds of voting Wednesday before Raimonds Vejonis got the backing of a majority of lawmakers in the 100-seat Parliament.
Vejonis defeated Egils Levits, a judge of the European Court of Justice, in a runoff after two other candidates were eliminated in earlier rounds.
But he failed to get a majority in the runoff, forcing a final round of voting where he ran unopposed and got 55 votes.
The 48-year-old Vejonis will replace incumbent Andris Berzins, who didn't seek another four-year term, citing family reasons.
Vejonis' background as defense minister was seen as a strength in a country put on edge by Russia's intervention in Ukraine.
Latvia regained independence in 1991 amid the Soviet collapse.