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January 23, 2022
EDITORIAL

President’s response to first booing

Hardly had he stepped out of the presidential vehicle that the head of state was splashed with boos Sunday night, at the opening of the ‘George Enescu’ international festival. What could be seen and heard on TV was a group of protesters who had come especially for the event. But not the cultural event, one of great significance for this country, that was going to unfold at Sala Palatului, with top class local and international presence, but the political one – the appearance in public of President Klaus Iohannis after over a month of absence. Those extensively publicised by some TV channels and about whose booing many newspapers have written and still are, were a handful of people. Literally! Despite of the fact that they chose a rather inappropriate place to express their political views – a highly important cultural event – their right and opinion were generally respected and their action was accepted, including by the presidential couple who continued to walk, hand in hand, to the Sala Palatului building, amidst the smiles of the people present there.
However, the event was not exactly blissful for the president. Those who were close to him, booth when he went in and in the concert hall, could see that he had a hard time hiding his disappointment. For the first time in his life was the president booed at, and the extensively media-covered event staining the image Iohannis is so keen about risks blowing fresh wind into the sail of those who are dissatisfied with the manner in which the new president operates. The voices of Romanians accusing him of spending too much time travelling abroad and that he has a far too feeble response to local events are growing in number and the opinion polls also indicate a decrease of the president’s popularity within less than a year of his election.
On the other hand, Klaus Iohannis held his ground and answered… the Transylvanian way. Not on the spot, but in his own way. Tuesday, at the Romanian Academy, at the opening of the works of the ROMOPTO International Micro/Nano-Photonics Conference, in front of an outstanding audience of international size researchers, the president stressed that his presence there was ‘not at all random’, hinting that his words had, in fact, two targets – on the one hand the scientists and, on the other hand, his detractors, more and more lately, whose messages are building up especially in the virtual space, on social media, the same that helped him win the election a year back.
‘Apart from the past that I feel close to your area of expertise, due to my professional background, I confess to you that my motivation also comes from my responsibility as the President of Romania. I chose to attend this event in order to show my priorities again. Maybe some expected me to say something about parties or would have liked a busier summer, politically speaking. Maybe others are unhappy about the lack of so-called breaking news and fiery statements. To me, however, the promised conduct and set priorities are the same. And they will not be shadowed by political effervescence o momentary circumstances’, President Iohannis said in the opening of his speech at the Romanian Academy. ‘Today I am next to you because research and education are the chance Romania has’ – said the president, who also stressed that ‘It is the time of a genuine political and social consensus for a creative Romania, a Romania of innovation, capable of a sustainable response in the context of global challenges’. He added that ‘science and innovation have no political colour, yet they could make the difference for the future of this country’. The president emphasised by that what he deemed crucial for his critics to also live the life they wanted.
The booing is, of course, sooner or later, part of the life of any political to reaches the top, for there will always be an opposition in a democratic state. Since Romania takes pride in this status, it is normal to see that on the TV, too. And, most certainly, the criticism against the president will grow amidst the ‘political effervescence’ and ‘momentary circumstances’, as Iohannis very actually anticipated. The idea is to see if the head of state will keep walking down the same route he promised to himself and to Romanians or if he will want to lower the benchmark faced by the growing vox populi pressure.

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