Zatlers, Valdis

Zatlers, Valdis välˈdĭs zätˈlĕrs [key], 1955–, Latvian physician and political leader. A graduate (1979) of the Riga Institute of Medicine, he is an orthopedic surgeon and was director of the Riga Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopedics from 1994 to 2007. His political experience was limited to cofounding (1988) the Latvian Popular Front, which was active in obtaining Latvia's independence from the Soviet Union. In 2007 the country's four-party center-right coalition government chose Zatlers as their presidential candidate, and he was subsequently elected by the Latvian parliament. He failed to win reelection in 2011 after he accused legislators of being soft on corruption and called a referendum on dissolving parliament. His newly founded Reform party subsequently placed second in the resulting parliamentary elections and became part of the governing coalition, but it merged (2015) into Unity after Reform lost support.

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