Latvia is truly a country of contrasts. On 31 May 2023, the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) with 52 votes in favour, elected the long-serving Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs as the next President of the Republic of Latvia. Rinkēvičs has been holding the Foreign Affairs mandate since 2011 and has been a key figure in each coalition formed by the New Unity Party (EPP) ever since. His election, many could argue, is consequential and logical.
He is a strong EU and NATO advocate, a staunch anti-Putinist, a big friend of Ukraine, and an experienced diplomat with a great track record and good ratings. There is, nevertheless, one minor but important detail in the story – Mr Rinkēvičs is one of very few openly gay politicians in Latvia and has become the first openly gay Head of State in the European Union – in one of the most conservative countries in the EU.