Presidential consultations: 20 civil society leaders discuss with President Iohannis

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A delegation of 20 civil society leaders has attended on Friday consultations with President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, according to the Presidential Administration.

The attending civil society leaders, out of 5,520 persons who applied to attend this meeting, are:

Sorin Ionita – Expert Forum
Elena Calistru – Funky Citizens
Nicusor Dan – Save Bucharest Association
Mihai Dragos – Council of Romanian Youth
Ionut Sibian – Foundation for the Development of Civil Society
Cristina Guseth – Freedom House
Liviu Mihaiu – Save Danube and its Delta
Ema Stoica – student
Adrian Despot – lead singer of Vita de Vie band; he was at Colectiv Club when the last Friday’s fire raged on and helped saving victims
Tudor Benga – the online OKIAN library
Alexandru Bindar – Union of Romania’s Students
Cătălin Drula – Pro Infrastructure Association
Edmond Niculusca – Romanian Association for Culture, Education and Normalcy
Horia Onita – National Council of Pupils
Claudia Postelnicescu – Initiative Romania
Stefan Darabus – Hope and Homes for Children Romania
Andrei Cornea – The Group for Social Dialogue (GDS, one of Romania’s oldest NGOs)
Clara Matei – Association of Resident Doctors
Dragos Slavescu – doctor
Octavian Berceanu – uniţisalvam, a social movement against gold mining in the Apuseni Mountains.


Iohannis to civil society leaders: This is an atypical meeting; special times generate special results

President Klaus Iohannis on Friday said his meeting with civil society leaders is an atypical one generated by special times, when he can take over the leaders’ requests and forward them to political parties as mediator.

“This is an atypical meeting because special times generate special results, that is my hope. The tragedy at Colectiv club was just a very strong detonator for a genuine uprising, a movement that led to the downfall of the Government. I believe the movement we are witnessing now is more than just a change of government. I believe this is a change in paradigm and I have to confess that people are justifiably waiting for a new approach of politics on the part of politicians. I have considered that, because of the circumstances, when the street played a decisive part, when the civil society issued requests and special approaches, it was very well for us to have the meeting,” Iohannis said at the beginning of his consultations with the leaders of the civil society.

He added that he sees the meeting as one where he gets ideas that he can forward to political parties for consideration.

“I believe this is the best way of using the president as a mediator,” said Iohannis.


NGOs, protesters, invited to appoint leaders for consultations with President Iohannis

President Klaus Iohannis invited on Thursday NGO coalitions with a large public recognition to appoint a leader each to take part on Friday in consultations with him, and the protesters to do the same by midnight today.

“Romania’s President is inviting coalitions of NGOs of a wide public recognition to appoint one leader each to take part in consultations on Friday, November 6, at an hour to be later on announced. At the same time, Romania’s President is inviting the protesters to appoint for the same purposes persons with a high degree of representativeness for the civic movements of the past days,” the Presidential Administration reported in a press statement on Thursday.

The recommendations were expected to consultari@presidency.ro until midnight accompanied by contact data.

The Presidential Administration underscoreed that the consultations will be conducted in a functional dialogue framework that inevitably entails a limited number of representatives.

“The civil society will continue to be in the future a partner for dialogue of the Presidential Administration and similar consultations will be held regularly,” reads the statement.


NGOs ask President Iohannis to appoint credible Premier

Several NGOs, including Expert Forum and the Group for Social Dialogue, addressed President Klaus Iohannis and Parliament an open letter, proposing “a set of feasible and politically neutral measures, which can be adopted fast (by the end of the year) and which directly meet the agenda of the people who took to the streets to press for a better government.”

The signatories of the open letter ask President Iohannis to appoint a credible Premier, who has the will to implement the profound changes required by Romanians both in November 2014, and in November 2015.


ActiveWatch calls on President Iohannis, political parties not to highjack social protests by holding snap elections

ActiveWatch media watchdog called on President Klaus Iohannis and parliamentary political parties not to highjack the current social protests against the political class and systemic corruption by holding snap elections.

“In our opinion, snap elections would consolidate the political status quo while eliminating the chance for new political parties to run, of social leaders so far politically unrepresented and who, by virtue of the latest amendments in the political parties legislation, could run in the next general election. Given that the law on political parties was amended this May, the establishment of such parties is not completed yet,” ActiveWatch said Thursday in a press statement to Agerpres..

ActiveWatch says the suggestion of the National Liberal Party (PNL) is “cynical and running contrary to market demand.” “The party is using popular unrest as a ground for snap elections to block precisely the chance for reforming the political class,” reads the statement.

“The resignation of Victor Ponta and Gabriel Oprea just for them to be replaced by their advisors is not what is actually asked for or what you promised the people who voted for you. If early elections are the price required for real change, then so be it,” reads the letter of the NGOs.

Also, Parliament and the future Prime Minister are required to return to electing mayors and County Council presidents in two rounds to avert the risk of big parties landing an oligopoly position (deadline – December 10), to cancel the mandates of the 552 mayors and 4,791 party-switching councilors as per GEO No. 55/2014 (the signatories argue that the Constitutional Court of Romania ruled the measure unconstitutional, but Parliament has been refusing for almost a year to sort things out, thus placing itself outside the law) (deadline – December 1) , reads the document sent on Thursday to Agerpres.

The NGOs also request the dissolution of the parliamentary committees tasked with the oversight of the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service and the appointment of credible MPs who should conduct some serious investigations and provide public explanations for the activities of the intelligence services, plus an efficient budget control (deadline – December 1), the replacement of the current Ombudsman with a competent, politically neutral person capable to fulfill a mandate in the public interest (deadline – December 1), the approval of the establishment of the National Agency for the Management of Seized Goods (deadline – December 10), the rejection of the initiatives filed in Parliament aimed at weakening the mechanisms for the combat of corruption (deadline – December 1), strengthening the National Anticorruption Directorate and the Prosecution Offices by providing technical means for wiretapping, for these institutions to no longer depend on SRI technology.

The request of the open letter’s signatories for the incoming Premier is that he should urgently take the necessary steps to dismiss the heads of public companies with legal issues (like the Oltenia Energy Complex) and pledge to rid the state-owned companies of parasitic entities that drain their resources (which have budget liabilities as high as the combined budgets of the healthcare and the education sectors) and carry on with the professionalization and de-politicising of the management of state-owned companies.

The signatories of the open letter – Expert Forum (EFOR), the Romanian Centre for European Policies (CRPE), the Group for Social Dialogue (GDS), the Romanian Association for Culture, Education and Normalcy (ARCEN) and the Pro Infrastructure Association suggest the President to set in place transparent procedures for the designation of civil society representatives at the consultations called for November 6 or other future such meetings, by using online debate instruments.