PBLA names Rupners new chair as Sausiņš steps down to pursue politics

The World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība, or PBLA) has announced a change in leadership after its chairman resigned to become involved in homeland politics.

As of July 23, the new chairman of the federation is Ints Rupners, who had been vice chairman of the organization, the PBLA’s representative office in Rīga announced July 27 in a brief message in its daily news digest.

Former Chairman Mārtiņš Sausiņš on July 19 joined the Civic Union (Pilsoniskā savienība), one of three political parties that make up the Unity (Vienotība) coalition. He also announced that he is prepared to be a candidate in the upcoming elections for the 11th Saeima, according to Civic Union spokesperson Dace Balode.

The elections are set for Sept. 17 and follow the July 23 national referendum that dissolved the 10th Saeima.

Sausiņš was born in Sweden in 1947 and now lives in Québec, Canada. He for years has been involved in the Latvian community in Canada, at one time serving as chair of the Latvian National Federation in Canada. Sausiņš was awarded the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia’s highest civilian honor, in 2007. He was elected chair of the PBLA in 2008 and re-elected in 2010.

Rupners was born in 1941 in Latvia. He has lived in the United States since 1950, where he has been an active member of both local and national Latvian organizations. He served as the head of the American Latvian Association (Amerikas latviešu apvienība) from 1992-1996, has led the Latvian Freedom Foundation (Latvijas brīvības fonds) and served on the board of the PBLA.

Mārtiņš Sausiņš

Mārtiņš Sausiņš has stepped down as chair of the World Federation Free Latvians to become involved in homeland politics. (Photo: Vienotība)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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