President Klaus Iohannis has announced that his wife, Carmen, would have a more active presence in the social life than the previous First Ladies. Carmen Iohannis, on her part, has also expressed her wish to be an active presence as the First Lady, especially by committing to activities related to youth education. PNL MP Ovidiu Raețchi said, in the context of Women’s Day -8 March, that it was time we considered launching a debate on the institution of the First Lady based on the American model.
‘We can see an establishment in the public space of a type of construction of the female figure, where philanthropy, charity and ethics of care are traditionally associated to it, but where a partnership philosophy of institutions becomes essential. It makes me wonder if we should not consider a semi-official institution of the First Lady, similar to the one in the USA. Naturally, it doesn’t mean that the First Lady has a formal role in the state or receives any privileges. If she wants to be involved, she could be the patron of humanitarian, cultural, educational events, benefiting for that, like in the United States, from an office of the First Lady at Cotroceni and a public agenda’.
The PNL MP added that the First Lady would have both the capacity and the tools to steadily commit herself to humanitarian, cultural and civic causes and raise awareness to the need for solutions:
‘It’s a challenge to the society and I believe that, 25 years after the Revolution, we can observe and sociologically measure if Romania is ready for such a symbol. We cannot remained blocked in the ‘Elena Ceausescu’ syndrome for 2-3 generations. In my opinion, without personalising it, the president’s wife’s participation in the civic life will grow in the next years. So there will be a de facto commitment of the First Lady anyway. And it would be a good thing to give this quasi-institution the opportunity of doing things professionally and in a settled manner. Thanks to the attention the president’s wife – whoever she may be – usually gets, the First Lady can raise awareness to particular causes for the benefit of Romanian citizens. The humanitarian campaigns conducted by US presidents’ wives since dozens of years ago are well-known: the fight against breast cancer, drugs, educational shortages, food and so on. A possible inclusion of the First Lady could automatically capture the attention of the public and decision-makers and generate more commitment’.