Marian Munteanu, the National Liberal Party’s (PNL) candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, stated on Friday that he did not talk with President Klaus Iohannis about his candidacy and that the Head of State did not impose the nomination. Invited on the Digi24 channel, Marian Munteanu added that the Presidential Administration’s reaction is natural and that there are no reasons that would determine him to pull out of the electoral race.
Marian Munteanu’s explanation came after the Presidential Administration on Friday issued a communiqué in which it denied any involvement on President Iohannis’s part in Munteanu’s nomination as PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall.
Presidential Administration: President Iohannis did not support or impose Marian Munteanu’s bid
President Klaus Iohannis has neither supported nor imposed on the leadership of the National Liberal Party Marian Munteanu’s bid for Bucharest general mayor, the Presidential Administration reported.
“Romania’s President has neither suggested, nor endorsed or imposed the bid on PNL’s leadership, so he is in no way involved in the nomination,” officials of the Presidential Administration told on Friday.
At the same time, they said the decision to endorse Marian Munteanu belongs strictly to the PNL leadership following internal assessments.
The Presidential Administration’s communiqué dismisses the speculations according to which President Klaus Iohannis met a Liberal on Monday, before Marian Munteanu was nominated PNL’s candidate in Bucharest.
“Obviously the Presidency’s involvement would not be constitutional”
“The President could not have been involved. I’ve read and I was shown some conspiracy theories from various sources, according to which my nomination was allegedly the result of high-level intervention. Obviously the Presidential institution had to point out that it isn’t true, because it wouldn’t have been constitutional,” Marian Munteanu said.
He added that he knows presidential adviser Constantin Dudu Ionescu since the 1990s, but that he did not talk with him about his candidacy for the city hall.
In what concerns Dan Mihalache, head of the Presidential Chancellery and approved for the post of Romanian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Marian Munteanu said he only met him once, at a reception hosted by the Romanian Embassy in Washington. The photograph in which the two can be seen together, alongside a Liberal Senator and members of the Romanian community in the U.S., was taken there.
“Romanians taking part in the visit to the U.S. and a larger group of Romanians living in America were invited at a meeting, not with me but with a group of lawmakers and other officials who had various contacts in America at that moment,” Marian Munteanu said.
During the meeting in which the Liberals voted in favour of Marian Munteanu as the party’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, PNL Honorary President Mircea Ionescu Quintus abstained. Marian Munteanu explained why.
“He told me that he abstains but not because he has something against the idea of my candidacy, he personally backs me, but he says – and it’s hard for me to contradict him – that he is very sad that the party was unable to find a solution within and resorted to a person from without,” he said.
“I see no reason to pull out of the electoral race”
Marian Munteanu added that he sees no reason why he should bow out of the race. Moreover, he said that the NGOs that accused him of extremism do not represent all of civil society.
Asked whether there is something that would determine him to pull out of the electoral race, Marian Munteanu said: “A catastrophe, God forbid, health, we’re only human, right? Why would I pull out? I have no reason. Of course, when it comes to these issues things are always clarified from the start. I received this especially honouring proposal, which nevertheless came in a crisis situation.”
He added that Ludovic Orban had called him and had told him about his [Orban’s] candidacy for the city hall and the alliance Marian Munteanu is a member of was prepared to back him alongside other NGOs.
“I’ve always condemned any extremist attitude, not to mention anti-Semitism”
Present on Friday at the PNL Bucharest District 1 branch, where his party membership was registered, Marian Munteanu rejected the accusations that several NGOs brought against him in an open letter and claimed that he is best positioned to understand the Holocaust because he is part of a family that experienced the repression of authoritarian regimes but that in what concerns “certain cultural personalities the discussion is complicated and has to do with the careful analysis of the biography and activity of each of them.”
“I did not make anti-Semitic statements, on the contrary. I always condemned any extremist attitude, not to mention anti-Semitism, any form of xenophobia. I’m a profoundly peaceful person, a profound lover of people and I believe I’ve always held non-violent positions. Bear in mind that I’m from a family that spent time in concentration camps. I am best positioned to understand what it means to be dragged to a camp because of your ethnicity,” he stated.