Latvia's new President Egils Levits delivers his first address to the nation at the Freedom Monument in downtown Riga, Latvia, July 8, 2019. Egils Levits assumed office as Latvia's new president on Monday, taking the oath of office here in front of the parliament in a ceremony broadcast on public television. (Xinhua/Janis)
RIGA, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Egils Levits assumed office as Latvia's new president on Monday, taking the oath of office here in front of the parliament in a ceremony broadcast on public television.
In his first speech as president, Levits told lawmakers that in the following decade, Latvia has to evolve into a modern, sustainable North European country that could serve as a role model to others.
President Levits underlined that the nation's common good is created by a succession of many generations and that everyone is a link in the bigger chain. "We have inherited our country from the previous generations," said Levits. "Our duty is to pass it on to the next generations in a better shape than we have received it."
He indicated that he intends to prioritize three main areas during his presidency -- solidarity, a sense of belonging and sustainability.
The newly sworn-in president then headed to Meza Cemetery in Riga to lay flowers and pay homage to Latvia's first President Janis Cakste.
At noon, President Levits arrived at the Freedom Monument in downtown Riga to deliver his first address to the nation, starting a new tradition on inauguration day, and meet with the people who had gathered in the city center to greet the new president and wish him success.
Later, the new president symbolically received the keys to Riga Castle, the official residence of the Latvian president. The events on inauguration day also included a reception for invited guests at the National Library of Latvia.
Levits, then a European Court of Justice judge, was elected Latvian president in a parliamentary vote on May 29, beating two rival candidates -- Ombudsman Juris Jansons and MP Didzis Smits.
Levits takes over the Latvian presidency from Raimonds Vejonis, who was elected head of the Latvian state in June 2015. Vejonis did not run for re-election in this year's presidential election.