A political novice has been sworn in as Lithuania's new president, taking the helm of the Baltic nation of three million.
Former economist Gitanas Nauseda, 55, who won the May presidential election, arrived Friday July 12th at Lithuania's Parliament with his family for a formal ceremony.
He received 66% of the vote in the presidential race, and all the key candidates had backed continuing European Union and Nato membership, showing that Lithuanians have stood apart from the recent Eurosceptic and populist European political trends.
Nauseda, who will visit neighbouring Poland for his first foreign trip, said: "we must not forget that freedom and independence is not a gift, those must be won and protected."
During the presidential campaign, Nauseda said he would not go to Moscow unless Russia withdrew from Crimea, a move that had sparked fears among other former Soviet republics, including Lithuania, that they could be Moscow's next acquisitions.
And Lithuania is among only eight Nato members to spend two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, part of its firm stance over Russia.
He took over from Dalia Grybauskaite, who served for ten years and who called Russia "a terrorist state."
This is the first time that the new president has held elected office. Most recently he was an advisor to the head of Sweden’s SEB, Lithuania’s top bank, and according to AFP, decades of TV appearances as an economics expert have made him a recognisable public figure.