Latvian political star hospitalised in Germany: report

25th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Latvian political star Nils Usakovs has been flown to hospital in Germany after collapsing during a half-marathon in the capital Riga, where he is mayor, the Baltic News Service reported Wednesday.

City hall spokeswoman Anna Kononova was quoted as saying that Usakovs, 34, was transferred late Tuesday from a hospital in Riga to a specialist clinic in Berlin.

Usakovs was in a serious but stable condition, after collapsing with heat stroke and exhaustion near the end of the 21-kilometre (13-mile) race in Riga on Sunday, BNS reported.

Doctors in Latvia had already put him into an artificial coma.

Usakovs was elected mayor of Riga in 2009, and is the darling of Latvia's left-leaning Harmony Centre movement, which is in opposition at the national level.

Harmony Centre draws strong support from Latvia's Russian-speaking minority, which makes up around a quarter of the population in this nation of 2.2 million.

Many Russian-speakers moved to Latvia during its five decades as a Soviet republic, as Moscow cemented control by tilting the ethnic balance.

Since Latvia regained its independence in 1991, relations with Moscow have been rocky, feeding into ethnic disputes.

But the highly-popular Usakovs is seen as part of a new generation of politicians able to bridge the divide comfortably.

© 2011 AFP

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