Klaus Iohannis

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Klaus Iohannis
Klaus Iohannis din interviul cu Dan Tapalagă.tif
5th President of Romania
Incumbent
Assumed office
21 December 2014
Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Preceded by Traian Băsescu
Mayor of Sibiu
In office
30 June 2000 – 2 December 2014
Preceded by Dan Condurat
Succeeded by Astrid Fodor (Acting)
Leader of the National Liberal Party
In office
28 June 2014 – 18 December 2014
Preceded by Crin Antonescu
Succeeded by Alina Gorghiu
Vasile Blaga
Leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania
In office
2002–2013
Preceded by Wolfgang Wittstock
Succeeded by Paul-Jürgen Porr
Personal details
Born Klaus Werner Johannis
(1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 55)
Sibiu, Romania
Political party Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (1990–2013)
National Liberal Party (2013–2014)
Independent (2014–present)[1]
Spouse(s) Carmen Iohannis (1989–present)
Alma mater Babeș-Bolyai University
Religion Lutheranism
Website Official website

Klaus Werner Iohannis (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈkla.us joˈhanis], German: [ˈklaʊ̯s joˈhanɪs]; also spelled Johannis; born 13 June 1959) is the current President of Romania. He became leader of the National Liberal Party in 2014, after having served as leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania from 2002 to 2013. Iohannis was a physics teacher and a school inspector before entering full-time politics.

Iohannis was first elected mayor of the city of Sibiu in 2000, representing the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. Although the German population of the once predominantly German-speaking city of Sibiu has declined to a tiny minority, Iohannis won a surprise victory and was re-elected by landslides in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Iohannis is credited with turning his city into one of Romania's most popular tourist destinations, and the city was declared the European Capital of Culture in 2007. In February 2013, Iohannis became a member of the National Liberal Party, accepting an invitation from Liberal leader Crin Antonescu, and was immediately elected the party's First Vice President, becoming the party's President the following year.

In October 2009, four of the five political groups in the Parliament, excluding the Democrat Liberal Party of then-President Traian Băsescu, proposed him as a candidate for the office of Prime Minister of Romania; however, Băsescu refused to nominate him despite the Parliament's adoption of a declaration supporting his candidacy.[2] He was again the candidate for Prime Minister of the National Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in the elections in the same year.[3]

Iohannis is the first Romanian president to come from an ethnic minority.[4] He is a Transylvanian Saxon, part of Romania's German minority which settled in Transylvania in the 12th century.

Personal and professional life[edit]

Born in a house in the historic centre of Sibiu to a Transylvanian Saxon family, Klaus Iohannis is the eldest child of Susanne and Gustav Heinz Johannis. He has a younger sister, Krista Johannis (born 1963).[5] His father worked as a technician at an enterprise, while his mother was a nurse.[6] Both his parents as well as his sister emigrated from their native Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt) to Würzburg in Germany in 1992, acquiring citizenship there under the right of return granted by German nationality law,[7][8] as most other Transylvanian Saxons after the fall of the Iron Curtain. However, he chose to live and work in Romania.[9] As of 2014, his parents, sister and a niece live in Würzburg.[10] Iohannis has stated that his family settled in Transylvania in present-day Romania 850 years ago.[11] After graduating from the Faculty of Physics of the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca in 1983, Iohannis worked as a high school physics teacher at various schools and colleges in Sibiu, including, from 1989 to 1997, the Samuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium in Sibiu, the oldest German-speaking school in Romania. From 1997 to 1999, he was Deputy General School Inspector of Sibiu County, and from 1999 until his election as mayor in 2000, he was the General School Inspector, head of public schools in the county.

Iohannis is fluent in German and Romanian at a native level and also speaks English. The original spelling of his name (which is German) is Johannis, but the name was registered by a Romanian official as Iohannis on his birth certificate[12] and he has used both spellings interchangeably.[13] In 1989, he married ethnic Romanian Carmen Lăzurcă, an English teacher at the Gheorghe Lazăr National College in Sibiu.[14][15] They have no children.

Iohannis is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania, the German-speaking Lutheran church in Transylvania.[16]

Political career[edit]

He joined the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR) in 1990, and served as a member of its board of education in Transylvania from 1997, and a member of the local party board in Sibiu from 1998. In 2001, he was elected President of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania.

Mayor of Sibiu[edit]

Iohannis as Mayor of Sibiu, May 2005

In 2000, the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania in Sibiu decided to back him as a candidate for mayor. Despite the fact that Sibiu's German minority had shrunken to a mere 1.6%, Iohannis was elected with 69.18% of the votes and has won three re-elections in a row, getting some of the largest electoral scores in the country: 88.7% of the vote in 2004, and 87.4% in 2008. He is the first ethnic German mayor of a Romanian city since Albert Dörr, who served from 1940 to 1945. The small German minority is popular in Romania, where they are often viewed as hard-working, precise and uncompromising. Many Romanians also remember that the country experienced some of its best moments under German kings over a century ago.[8]

Throughout his tenure as mayor, he has worked to restore the town's infrastructure and to tighten the city administration. Iohannis is also widely credited with turning the city into one of Romania's most popular tourist destinations thanks to the extensive renovation of the old downtown.[17] During his first term, Iohannis worked with a city council that had a social democrat majority.[citation needed] Since 2004, during his second and third terms, his own party, FDGR, had the majority. Since 2008, FDGR has 14 out of 23 councilors, PDL has 4, PSD has 3, and PNL has 2.[18]

Iohannis established contacts with foreign officials and investors. Sibiu was declared the European Capital of Culture of 2007, along with Luxembourg (the bearer of the distinction in 1995).[clarification needed] Luxembourg chose to share this honourable status with Sibiu due to the fact that many of the Transylvanian Saxons emigrated in the 12th century to Transylvania from the area where Luxembourg is today.[19] Sibiu, or Hermannstadt in German, was built by the Transylvanian Saxons, was for many centuries the cultural centre of that group, and was a predominantly German-speaking city until the mid 20th century. Many Germans left the city after World War II, and especially in 1990, within months of the fall of the Iron Curtain.

On November 7, 2005, Iohannis was nominated as the "Personality of the Year for a European Romania" (Romanian: Personalitatea anului pentru o Românie europeană) by the Eurolink – House of Europe organization.[20]

Candidacy for the Prime Minister of Romania[edit]

On October 14, 2009, the leaders of the opposition parliamentary groups (the National Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, and the group of smaller ethnic minorities), proposed Iohannis as a candidate for Prime Minister of Romania, after the government of Prime Minister Emil Boc fell a day before as a result of a motion of no confidence in the Parliament. Coming from outside the national-level politics of Romania, Iohannis has the image of an independent politician,[21] although his party has consistently allied itself with, and Iohannis has campaigned in the latest European Parliament elections for the National Liberal Party. The National Liberal Party (PNL), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), and the group of small ethnic minorities in the Parliament subsumed Iohannis as their common candidate for Prime Minister of an interim government.[22] On October 14, Klaus Iohannis confirmed acceptance of his candidacy. However, on October 15, the President Traian Băsescu nominated Lucian Croitoru, a top Romanian economist, as Prime Minister, and charged the latter with forming the country's next government.

After the second round of talks, a day before Croitoru's nomination, Băsescu noted: "Some parties have proposed Klaus Iohannis. I would like you to know that I have not rejected the possibility for him to become Prime Minister in the condition that my options would be directed towards other [national unity government] solutions. But I have rejected such a proposal because it comes from PSD or another party [PNL]", referring to his alleged constraint to consider a proposal of the largest party (PDL), constraint disputed by the other parties.[23][24] The opposition criticized the President for not designating Iohannis. Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoană accused Băsescu of trying to influence the upcoming presidential elections by having them organized by a sympathetic government.[25][26] Crin Antonescu, the leader of the National Liberals, vowed his party would derail other nominations but Iohannis'.[25] After the nomination of Croitoru, Antonescu, a candidate in the presidential election, stated that he would nominate Iohannis as Prime Minister if elected President.[27] Three days later, on October 18, Geoană suggested Antonescu was trying to use Iohannis as an "electoral agent" for Antonescu's bid for president. In response, Antonescu told the press that Iohannis "is not the type of person that would let himself being used".[28] Geoană and PSD leadership has held a second meeting with Iohannis in Bucharest in the evening of October 18. UDMR, which the previous day announced it would also attend, declared in the morning that all their leaders are not in the city. PNL was present at the meeting by lower level representatives, after Antonescu announced in the morning he is on campaign in Cluj-Napoca.[29] On October 21, the Parliament adopted with 252 votes for (of PSD, PNL, UDMR and minorities groups) and 2 against a declaration requesting the President to nominate Iohannis as Prime Minister.[30][31]

In the National Liberal Party[edit]

On February 20, 2013, Klaus Iohannis joined the PNL, announcing this during a press conference with Crin Antonescu. At a PNL extraordinary congress, he was elected First Vice President of the Party. In the meeting of 28 June 2014, he was elected President of the PNL with 95% of the votes.

Candidacy for the President of Romania[edit]

In 2009, Iohannis had stated that he might possibly run for the office of President of Romania, although not in 2009.[32] Former Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu had said on October 27, 2009 and again on April 23, 2010 that he would like to see Iohannis become President of Romania.[33]

PNL and PDL started in the summer of 2014 procedures to strengthen the political right. The two parties will eventually merge under the name PNL, but went for elections in an alliance: the Christian Liberal Alliance (Romanian: Alianța Creștin-Liberală). On August 11, the alliance chose Iohannis as its candidate for the presidential election in November[34] and so he was registered as an official presidential candidate. He received 30.37% of the votes in the first round.

At the second round on November 16 he was elected President of Romania with 54.43% of the votes.

President of Romania[edit]

Presidential styles of
Klaus Iohannis
Coat of arms of Romania.svg
Reference style Președintele (President)
Spoken style Președintele (President)
Alternative style Domnia Sa/Excelența Sa (His Excellency)

On November 16, 2014, Klaus Iohannis was elected the fifth President of Romania, winning against the Social-Democratic candidate Victor Ponta. Iohannis won the elections with 54.43% of the votes. He took office on 21 December, when Traian Băsescu's term ended. His presidential campaign focused on fighting corruption and on improving the justice system.[35] Iohannis is also a supporter of a strongly pro-Western foreign policy.[36] Regarding the unification of the Republic of Moldova with Romania, much discussed in the electoral campaign, Iohannis stated that "is something that only Bucharest can offer and only Chișinău can accept", and this "special relationship must be cultivated and enhanced especially by us [Romanian state]".[37][38]

A heavily disputed draft law regarding the amnesty of some misdemeanors and the pardoning of certain penalties was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies at the initiative of Klaus Iohannis and the party he led,[39] after PNL asked the Judiciary Committee 17 times to reject the draft law.[40]

Honours[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 2014 – Step by step (Romanian: Pas cu pas, German: Schritt für Schritt), autobiographical volume and bestseller in the history of Gaudeamus International Book and Education Fair[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Andi Manciu (18 December 2014). "Iohannis: Mi-am anunțat demisia din PNL. Mulțumesc pentru că am avut onoarea să fiu președintele PNL". Mediafax.ro (in Romanian). 
  2. ^ "Romanian opposition demands new PM". Euronews. October 21, 2009. Archived from the original on August 29, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "National minorities in Romania’s Parliament support Mircea Geoana’s candidacy for runoff presidential election - FINANCIARUL - ultimele stiri din Finante, Banci, Economie, Imobiliare si IT". November 30, 2009. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ Valentina Pop (17 November 2014). "Romanians elect first ethnic German president". EUobserver. 
  5. ^ Ramona Găină (September 24, 2014). "Klaus Iohannis. Secretele neamțului care vrea să fie președintele României" [EXCLUSIVE Klaus Johannis. Secrets German who wants to be president of Romania]. Adevărul (in Romanian). Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ Raluca Pantazi (18 November 2014). "Klaus Iohannis - un portret inedit. De la CV, la cât poartă la pantofi". HotNews.ro (in Romanian). 
  7. ^ Die Lokomotive von Hermannstadt, interview with Gustav Heinz Johannis, in: Monatsgruß (monthly magazine of the Evangelical-Lutheran dean of Würzburg), October 2007, p. 5.
  8. ^ a b Kulish, Nicholas (December 5, 2009). "Grim Romanians Brighten Over a German Connection". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Klaus Iohannis explică DE CE NU a emigrat în Germania" (in Romanian). RTV.net. November 19, 2014. Archived from the original on December 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rumänische Präsidentschaftswahl: Freude bei den Eltern des Siegers in Würzburg - Unterfranken - Nachrichten". Bayerischer Rundfunk. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Rădăcinile străine ale candidaţilor la Preşedinţie" [Foreign roots of presidential candidates]. Adevărul (in Romanian). August 6, 2014. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Romanian presidential candidate Klaus Iohannis - a pragmatic go-getter". Deutsche Welle. November 16, 2014. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Klaus Iohannis". Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Carmen Johannis, sfetnicul din umbra". EVZ.ro (in Romanian). October 16, 2009. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Klaus Johannis spune că a votat pentru normalitate". REALITATEA.NET. November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Rumniens Prsident: Klaus Johannis gewinnt Wahl, Ponta gratuliert" [Romanian President Klaus Johannis wins election, Ponta congratulates] (in German). Hamburg, Germany: Siegel Online. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Romanian prez proposes unity govt". The Himalayan Times. October 14, 2009. Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  18. ^ (Romanian) Sibiu City Council composition at Sibiu's Local Administration's webpage. Retrieved October 16, 2009
  19. ^ "Sibiu – Hermannstadt: European Capital of Culture 2007". Archived from the original on October 8, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Klaus Johannis, nominalizat la secțiunea "Personalitatea anului pentru o Românie europeană"". Amos News (in Romanian). 7 November 2005. 
  21. ^ "Democratic Liberals submit their own nomination for prime minister. Other parties keep supporting their own nomination". Hot News. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  22. ^ Mircea Geoană; Crin Antonescu; Bela Marko; Varujan Pambuccian; Daniela Popa (October 14, 2009). "Open letter to Traian Băsescu" (in Romanian). Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Băsescu spune ca n-are nimic cu Iohannis dar România are nevoie de un premier cu experiență în economie" [Băsescu Says He Has Nothing against Iohannis but that Romania Needs a Prime Minister with Economic Experience] (in Romanian). Ziarul Financiar. October 14, 2009. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  24. ^ "PNL, PSD si UDMR l-au "desemnat" pe Johannis premier, desi neamtul nu e pe gustul lui Basescu" (in Romanian). Ziarul Financiar. October 15, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  25. ^ a b "Romanian President names prime minister designate, opposition seething". The Sofia Echo. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Geoana-Basescu cam put an end on Wednesday to political crisis". Financiarul.ro. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Johannis ready to head national union gov’t". Financiarul.ro. October 15, 2009. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Geoană și Antonescu își dispută "agentul electoral" Johannis". Evenimentul Zilei. October 18, 2009. Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  29. ^ "UDMR nu participa la intalnirea de duminica seara cu Klaus Johannis". Hot News. October 18, 2009. Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Johannis, "validat premier" în parlament". Evenimentul Zilei. October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Parlamentarii au adoptat declarația de susținere a lui Klaus Iohannis la funcția de premier". Cotidianul. October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2009. [dead link]
  32. ^ (Romanian)"Portalul national de Administratie Publica". Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  33. ^ (Romanian)"Tăriceanu: "Îl văd pe Iohannis fie premier, fie preşedinte"". Retrieved November 16, 2014. [dead link]
  34. ^ Irina Popescu (August 11, 2014). "Romania's Christian Liberal Alliance chooses its presidential candidate". Romania-Insider. Archived from the original on November 4, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Klaus Iohannis wins Romanian presidential election". The Guardian. November 16, 2014. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  36. ^ "A commonsense victory: A surprise winner may mark a welcome shift to pragmatic policies". The Economist. November 22, 2014. Archived from the original on November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Klaus Iohannis, despre unirea României cu Republica Moldova și relațiile cu Rusia". Digi24 (in Romanian). 7 November 2014. 
  38. ^ "Iohannis, despre Republica Moldova: Unirea este ceva ce doar Bucureştiul poate oferi şi doar Chişinăul poate accepta". Radio France Internationale (in Romanian). 7 October 2014. 
  39. ^ Sorina Ionașc (18 November 2014). "Legea amnistiei şi graţierii a fost RESPINSĂ DEFINITIV". Gândul (in Romanian). 
  40. ^ Adelina Dragomir (18 November 2014). "Camera Deputaţilor A RESPINS proiectul legii amnistiei şi graţierii. Scutaru, către parlamentarii PSD: "A trebuit să pierdeţi alegerile prezidenţiale pentru a aduce proiectul pe ordinea de zi"". Mediafax.ro (in Romanian). 
  41. ^ Klaus Johannis a fost decorat cu Ordinul Național Steaua României
  42. ^ a b c d "CV Klaus Iohannis" (PDF). Klaus Iohannis Președinte (in Romanian). 
  43. ^ a b c "Klaus Iohannis, ales președinte al PNL". Agerpres (in Romanian). June 28, 2014. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). November 2012. p. 1922. Archived from the original on September 22, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Distincții primite" (in Romanian). Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  46. ^ Anca Simionescu (24 November 2014). "Cartea lui Klaus Iohannis, bestseller absolut în istoria Gaudeamus". Evenimentul Zilei (in Romanian). 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Condurat
Mayor of Sibiu
2000–2014
Succeeded by
Astrid Fodor
Acting
Preceded by
Traian Băsescu
President of Romania
2014–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wolfgang Wittstock
Leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania
2002–2013
Succeeded by
Paul-Jürgen Porr
Preceded by
Ludovic Orban
Deputy Leader of the National Liberal Party
2013–2014
Succeeded by
TBD
Preceded by
Crin Antonescu
Leader of the National Liberal Party
2014
Succeeded by
Alina Gorghiu