President Klaus Iohannis
Klaus Iohannis is the fourth President of Romania elected since 1989. A quarter of a century after the Revolution, the Romanian citizens elected their President with a popular vote exceeding the most optimistic expectations, in the person of a mayor, a former teacher who managed to transform the community he was born and has lived in. The commitment he has made before his citizens was “Romania of the things well done” and his election as President was described as one of the most important political events in 2014.
A member of an olden family of ethnic Germans having roots in the surroundings of Sibiu back to the half of the millennium, Klaus Iohannis was born on 13th June 1959 in Sibiu. He spent his childhood in a diverse community close to the historic center of the town on whose old streets calmness and order were always present. After graduating the German school, he attended “Samuel von Brukenthal” Highschool where he, alongside his former teachers, would eventually teach physics. In 1978 Klaus Iohannis matriculated at the Faculty of Physics within “Babes Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca and in 1983 he started teaching at several schools in the Sibiu surroundings. Five years later he became a tenured teacher at the highschool he had graduated, thus his dream as a teenager to stand on the other side of the teacher’s desk came true. Despite his parents and sister’s decision to emigrate, in the 90s, together with a great number of Transylvanian Saxons, Klaus Iohannis chose to remain in Sibiu. Klaus Iohannis is married to Carmen, an English teacher in Sibiu. They met while studying at the university and got married in 1989. President Iohannis speaks German and English fluently.
In 1990 he joined the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (DFGR) where he apprenticed working in community matters. Later he became the head of the organisation which he led for more than a decade. In the late 90s, after he had been teaching for 15 years, Klaus Iohannis became head of public schools in Sibiu, an important period to define his public profile.
In 2000, after very little preparations, he was appointed a DFGR candidate for Mayor of Sibiu elections, owing to his good reputation. Despite many predictions, in June, the same year, he was elected Mayor of Sibiu exceeding 70% of the votes. It was one of the most resounding victories of Romania’s mayoral elections of that year and the high electoral scores of his following re-elections revealed him to be a real model of a local leader. Klaus Iohannis never failed to be the first elective option of the inhabitants of Sibiu and won four mandates until 2014 when he was elected President of Romania.
During his second office as a mayor, in 2007, along with Luxembourg, Sibiu became European Capital of Culture, being the first city of a country outside the European Union membership to win this title before the country officially acceded to the Union. For Klaus Iohannis, Sibiu is a small-scale universe that mirrors what he intends to do for Romania, as Sibiu is a city known at the European level, clean, prosperous and attractive. It is the object lesson and the explicit proof that progress can be achieved. At the end of his mandate as a Mayor of Sibiu he left a city with an almost inexistent rate of unemployment, with major investments, with culture at its ease, a European-wide recognized touristic center and especially a city with a growing perspective right in the heart of Romania.
Klaus Iohannis entered the “great politics” in 2009 when he was appointed candidate for Prime Minister by a large parliamentary coalition. Although this chance didn’t come to fruition, he became more famous and turned out into a hopeful alternative for those who wanted another kind of Romania. Being elected by the Sibiu inhabitants four times and having achieved a great public trust, in 2013 he decided to join the National Liberal Party and subsequently he was elected prime-vice president of the party. As he said later, his liberal way of acting naturally brought him closer to the National Liberal Party. A year later he received 95% of the votes in the Congress for president of the party and eventually he was appointed candidate for President of Romania. In the following months he was one of the artisans to merge the two major liberal parties into one of the largest center-right parties after 1989. On 16th November 2014 Klaus Iohannis was elected President of Romania with 54.43% of votes. He took his oath before the Parliament on 21st December.
As President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis considers having a huge responsibility: to consolidate the country’s course towards principles, values and enduring laws, to support an authentic rule of law, a steadfast state with solid institutions. He wishes to transform Romania into the country where each of its citizens feels at ease, a home that everybody loves and feels proud of.
Klaus Iohannis has a visionary foreign politics, more active, more coherent, more transparent, more creative and mostly responsible, taking into consideration the current geopolitical context. He believes that Romania’s complete integration in Europe is a central goal and he is convinced that Romania’s foreign politics can fully bring into fruition our European Union and NATO membership thus consolidating its profile of a European member with a transatlantic vocation and a stabilising and predictable role in the region.
Correspondingly, national security and defence are priority fields for President of Romania and Klaus Iohannis’s new vision has underlain the working out of the National Strategy on Defence. Entitled “A strong Romania in Europe and worldwide”, the Strategy is an integrating document addressing the citizens, the entire society and the public institutions.
For Klaus Iohannis, “a strong Romania“ is a state taking care of its citizens, wherever they might live, by legal and diplomatic means, a country safeguarding its values, its interests and its symbols as well as its national wealth and natural resources. A country that knows how to protect its patrimony, its fields of excellence, that considers education and healthcare as priorities, moreover, a state that, alongside its partners, contributes maintaining security and promoting democracy and freedom.
The reform of the great public systems, namely education and health, also represents an important goal for President Klaus Iohannis. A quality education encouraging performance and respecting value is a priority objective of the mandate of President Iohannis, who has already initiated a public debate on this topic. As a former teacher and a present mediator between the state and the society, President Iohannis assumed the idea that a nation’s performance lies mainly in the achievements of the educational system.
Close examiner of the Romanian administration, the President is convinced that investing in healthcare means investing in future, additionally, an efficient sanitary system is directly connected to the nation’s prosperity, having a substantial economic and social impact.
Just from the beginning of his office, the President advised of his intention to be an activist and guarantor of the rule of law and of an independent and functional justice system. Consequently, fighting corruption is one of the priority goals of his mandate as it represents a matter of national security.
A new model of economic development, based on competitiveness and prosperity, is added to the strategic goals of the presidential mandate. Only through this model Romania becomes a more secure country, economically enduring and competitive and with a public service adapted to the citizen’s needs.