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March 1, 2021
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Ex President Constantinescu: Romania lacks citizens

In an interview to daily ‘Adevarul,’ former President Emil Constantinescu spoke of the current political class and how it is perceived, emphasizing that political reform must first of all start from an intellectual reform on the level of the entire society. If a young generation of politicians arose, any party reform would be useless as long as the civil society is not able to clearly distinguish between a good leader and a bad leader and between a good programme and a bad programme, said Constan­tinescu, who was president between 1996 and 2000. “Because, before we need reformed democratic institutions, we need a reformed society. Before we need leaders, we need citizens. Or Romania right now has a severe lack of citizens,” the former president said. He explained that the country needs intellectual reform, first and foremost through civic education. Constantinescu also spoke of the current political context, saying that current President Traian Basescu is a “product” of the current society, which applauds actions such as those of a head of state who does not act like a mediator but “riddles his opponents with bullets.” “Of course, he is a product that goes all the way to mafia structures, who emerges from intelligence services and is after some interests, but this is a whole different matter. But this group would never have succeeded if the Romanian mentality had been different,” Constantinescu said. He added that President Basescu’s declared purpose of being a “player president” practically annuls the concepts of Constitution and democracy.

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