Latvia Central Bank Head Rimsevics to Join ECB After Re-Election

Latvian lawmakers re-elected central bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics two months before the Baltic nation becomes the euro area’s 18th member.

The 100-seat legislature in the capital, Riga, voted 76-3 today to give him a third six-year term. Rimsevics will become a voting member of the European Central Bank after Latvia adopts the euro on Jan. 1.

Rimsevics championed the common currency even after the government missed targets to switch in 2008 and 2012 and as more than half of Latvians opposed the move. The country’s economy shrank the most in the world in 2009. It may expand 4.2 percent this year and next, the European Union’s fastest pace, after growing more than 5 percent in 2011 and 2012, according to the Finance Ministry.

Rimsevics, 48, became deputy central bank governor in 1992 and has led the regulator since 2001. He got a master’s degree in business administration in 1992 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. He graduated from the Riga Technical University as an engineering economist in 1990, according to the Latvian central bank.

About 52 percent of Latvians opposed euro adoption in September, according to pollster SKDS. Twenty-four percent were in favor of the currency switch and 22 percent had a neutral view, its survey showed. No margin of error was given.

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