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June 21, 2021

President Klaus Iohannis talks about local elections results on his 57th anniversary : “The ballot is the strongest instrument with which the political class can be reformed”

President Klaus Iohannis turned 57 on Monday. On his birthday, the Head of State received hundreds of congratulatory messages on his Facebook page, but also criticism.

The agenda of the day when he celebrated his 57th anniversary  included a meeting with Andrian Candu, Republic of Moldova’s Parliament Speaker. Likewise, Iohannis gave a press statement on the topic of the results of the June 5 local elections.

President Iohannis talked about the results and the way the elections were organised. In what concerns the latter, he said that the polling generally took place uneventfully and praised the first use of the system meant to prevent electoral fraud. The Head of State also said that he would have liked to see more efficient public relations, so that any citizen interested in the results would have found out more rapidly the ‘who,’ ‘where’ and ‘what,’ and also a higher voter turnout.

Iohannis said he will not comment on the results but he is happy there were many independent candidates.

Concerning the one- or two-round mayoral elections controversy, the President said that “after these elections it becomes even more obvious that the new parliament will have to very seriously assess the necessity to introduce two-round mayoral elections.”

The Head of State also emphasised that it is obvious that “for the parliamentary elections the Government has an important task, that someone has to handle a public awareness campaign. The Government has to do this through a nationwide campaign that would make people aware of the importance of the ballot. Not in favour of a certain party but per se, and to mobilise voters to go to the polls.”

Iohannis also stated that he is aware that Romanians “have been asking for a new political class for several years,” for upright politicians dedicated to the public interest, but emphasised that “voters play the fundamental role in reforming and renewing the political class.”

“The ballot is the strongest instrument through which the political class can be reformed,” the Head of State said on Monday.

“I can invite parties to undergo reform, but I cannot do this by myself. You, voters, can change with your ballot the way political parties act,” Iohannis added, pointing out that integrity cannot be learned and that “a politician is either upright or he isn’t.”

Likewise, the President reminded that now, after the local elections, the work is just beginning for those elected and that “voters and civil society have to carefully monitor what the newly elected are doing.”

Klaus Iohannis was born on 13 June 1959 in Sibiu, in a Transylvanian Saxon family. His parents emigrated to Germany in the 1990s but he chose to remain in Sibiu. He graduated the Faculty of Physics at the ‘Babes Bolyai’ University in Cluj Napoca.

In 1983 he started teaching. He was teacher in several schools around Sibiu and five years later he started teaching at the ‘Samuel von Brukenthal’ High School, whose graduate he was.

After 15 years as teacher, Klaus Iohannis was appointed at the helm of the local education system in Sibiu. He was Deputy School Inspector (1997-1999) then General School Inspector within the Sibiu County School Inspectorate (1999-2000).

He won four consecutive terms as Sibiu Mayor, as FDGR candidate, in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. He was Mayor of Sibiu until December 2014, when he became President of Romania.

He joined the National Liberal Party (PNL) on 20 February 2013, and was elected PNL First Vice President at a party conference on 23 February 2013.

On 16 November 2014, he won the presidential elections runoff with 54.43 percent of the votes. Klaus Iohannis is married to Carmen, an English teacher from Sibiu.

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