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Valdis Zatlers

Assumed office 
8 July 2007
Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis
Ivars Godmanis
Valdis Dombrovskis
Preceded by Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

Born 22 March 1955 (1955-03-22) (age 54)
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Lilita Zatlere
Residence Riga, Latvia
Alma mater Syracuse University
Profession Orthopedic surgery

Valdis Zatlers (born 22 March 1955 in Riga) is the 7th and current president of Latvia. He won the Latvian presidential election of 31 May 2007.[1] He became President of Latvia on 8 July 2007.[2]


Medical career

Valdis Zatlers is an orthopedic surgeon, who graduated from the Institute of Medicine in Riga in 1979. After studies he worked at Riga Hospital No. 2 and became chief of its traumatology unit in 1985. He was the director of the Latvian Traumatology and Orthopaedics Hospital since 1994 and chief of its board since 1998, he left these offices on 5 July 2007.[3]

Zatlers participated in the cleanup operations after the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. On 27 April 2007, he received the Order of the Three Stars (Trīs Zvaigžņu Ordenis) of the 4th rank for his contributions in care for health of the patients and promotion of orthopedics in Latvia.[4]

Political career

Valdis Zatlers was a board member of the Popular Front of Latvia in 1988-1989.[5] On 22 May 2007, the ruling parliamentary coalition of the Latvian Saeima officially nominated Zatlers as its presidential candidate.[6] Zatlers himself is not a member of any political party, but had signed the manifesto of the People's Party when the party was founded in 1998.


Before his election he confessed that as a doctor he had accepted private donations from his patients. Transparency International has questioned the legality of this practice.[7] Zatlers' supporters point out that donations of this form are accepted by many Latvian doctors. The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) characterized Zatlers' behaviour as improper and has said that it will not finalize its investigation of the matter for several months.[8] In July 2008, KNAB ruled that Zatlers hadn't violated the law by accepting these donations. [9]

Opposing politicians have criticized Zatlers for not paying taxes on these gifts. The State Revenue Service, which had previously requested him to pay taxes on the gifts, fined Zatlers 250 Lats.[10][11]

In 2003, Zatlers was a subject of an investigation by KNAB anti-corruption office. The investigation was started based on a request by Āris Auders, a former subordinate of Zatlers who had become the Minister of Healthcare. Auders had accused Zatlers in buying low-quality spinal implants from companies run by Zatlers' wife and the deputy director of Zatlers' hospital. The investigation cleared Zatlers of all charges.[12]

Personal life

Valdis Zatlers is married to Lilita Zatlere and has three children.


  1. ^ "Latvia elects doctor as president". BBC News. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007.  
  2. ^ "Unknown surgeon elected president". The Baltic Times. 6 June 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2007.  
  3. ^ (English) "Valdis Zatlers' Curriculum vitae". Chancery of the President of Latvia. Retrieved 15 October 2007.  
  4. ^ (Latvian) "Zatleram piešķirs Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni, Viestura ordeni un Atzinības krustu". 30 April 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2008.  
  5. ^ "Profile: Valdis Zatlers - surgeon, political newcomer, president". 31 May 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2007.  
  6. ^ (Latvian) "Koalīcijas partijas izvirza Zatleru Valsts prezidenta amatam". 22 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2007.  
  7. ^ "TI Latvia Asks KNAB, VID To Explain Whether Valdis Zatlers Could be Charged With Criminal Offences for Accepting Payments, Other Benefits From Patients". Retrieved 1 June 2007.  
  8. ^ (Latvian) "Kalvītis: ārstu 'pateicības' ir valdības, nevis Zatlera problēma". 30 May 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.  
  9. ^ (Latvian) "KNAB nesodīs Zatleru par ņemtajām pateicībām, taču ierosina jaunu pārbaudi". 22 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.  
  10. ^ (Latvian) "VID: Zatleram jāsamaksā nodokļi par 'aplokšņu' atlīdzību". 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.  
  11. ^ (Latvian) "Zatlers samaksājis 250 latu sodu par neprecizitātēm ienākumu deklarācijā". 4 July 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2007.  
  12. ^ (Latvian) "Zatlers ir prezidents". 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007.  

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