The political preferences frequently expressed by President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, in his public interventions that preceded the December 6 general election have blurred the line between his official prerogatives and the election campaign, which is a violation of international standards and of the commitments made by the member countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to maintain a clear separation between the state and political parties, Marianne Mikko, head of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Special Election Assessment Mission (ODIHR SEAM) to Romania, told an online press conference today.
“The President has frequently made his political preferences clear in his public statements made in the run-up to the election. This has increasingly blurred in the line between his official duties and the election campaign, in breach of international standards and of the commitments made by all OSCE countries to keep a clear separation between the state and political parties,” said Marianne Mikko.
According to the presentation made by the head of the ODIHR Special Election Assessment Mission to Romania, the fact that many news outlets carried Klaus Iohannis’ press conferences have brought an advantage to the National Liberal Party.
“Media monitoring is a key element of any ODIHR election observation mission. We found that the media environment in Romania is diverse, but is largely politically polarized. Most of the TV channels we have monitored have offered extensive news coverage of the President, with live broadcasts of his press conferences, which at times resulted in a clear advantage for his party,” the Estonian expert said.
“We also noticed that the media often failed to clearly distinguish between news and promotional coverage, which made it more difficult for voters to make an informed choice ahead of election day,” said Marianne Mikko, according to Agerpres.