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September 23, 2020

President Iohannis concludes first round of consultations over appointment of new PM: I will convene new talks early next week

President Klaus Iohannis says he will convene a new round of consultations early next week, adding that he might come up with a conclusion to unveil publicly late next week.

“Irrespective of the final option – snap elections or a technocrat government – it is obvious that all the political parties have to agree on a minimal programme. What has to be done in the period immediately ahead? The budget, hospitals, schools and so on. These things will have to be agreed upon by the political parties. I am optimistic and I will convene a new round of consultations for early next week and there might be a conclusion already late next week that I will come up with before the public,” Iohannis told journalists at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, after concluding talks with representatives of the civil society over the appointment of a new prime minister.

He said his consultations with political parties have indicated that almost all the parties are ready to consider snap elections and a technocrat government, but almost nobody is ready to consider a political government.

“This is news. That is why no party came up with prime ministerial recommendations. No matter how easy they sound, these conclusions are very important and have to be still discussed and negotiated,” added Iohannis.

He said that just one round of talks is not enough because this is a special situation.

“Everybody understood that this is more than a change of government, that the electorate, the agora and the street are expecting changes in political approaches, more cleanliness, more seriousness, more solutions and more political transparency. It pleased me that these were well understood. I have noticed that nobody came up with prime ministerial proposals. That was news in Romanian politics. Nobody came up with rigid ideas; all displayed much openness, openness to solutions that are awaited and desired,” said Iohannis.

“I promised I would go among protesters, but I will not announce day or hour”

President Klaus Iohannis on Friday said he promised civil society and “street” leaders that he would go to the agora among protesters, but pointed out he would announce neither hour, nor day, in order not to make a media event out of this.

“I have received multiple invitations to go to the agora and I promised I will, but I will announce neither the hour, nor the day I will go there, because I don’t want to make a media event out of it, but I want to go talk to the common people who are in the [University] Square, to tell me what they expect of me, what they expect of the political class,” Iohannis said.

He pointed out that he found the discussion on Friday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace with civil society and street representatives “very good” and that these came up with idea he will take over and forward to “the political parties.”

“[The discussion] was very good, people who came with very good ideas, well-thought concepts, approaches that are very useful to me at this stage. I shall take over a great part of these ideas and I shall forward them to the political parties. It was obvious in the discussion with the civil society and the street leaders that there are multiple expectations and they are most certainly justified, but at this stage (…) I find once more that a mere government change isn’t enough. A complex change in the Romanian politics is necessary. Everyone, but absolutely everyone is expecting new politicians to come forth, who had nothing to do with corruption, who haven’t been criminally investigated, who haven’t conducted suspicious businesses,” the head of state added.

The President underscored that these things have been “well understood” by the political leaders whom he met these days.

The information about the President going to the University Square had been previously announced by the civil society leaders who participated on Friday in a meeting with the head of state at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

“Many people sent messages that it would be good if he came to the [University] Square. He will come to the Square, but neither you nor us will know when,” Expert Forum representative Sorin Ionita said.

Liviu Mihaiu, representative of Save the Danube and the Danube Delta Organisation, part of the Environment Coalition of Romania, in turn said that Iohannis will go to the University Square to talk with the people, but “no one knows when, where and how, for obvious reasons.”

He underscored that attending the meeting with the head of state were leaders of 20 NGOs that covered of all society areas, and the conversation was an “exceptional” one.

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