The president’s first 100 nights

Klaus Iohannis has presented this week his balance sheet for 100 days in the presidential seat. As Romanians expected, the presidential style is a lot different from his predecessor. He abides the constitution by the letter, he is playing the part of mediator between institutions, refuses to get involved in petty politics, even in stimulating his former PNL to force toppling the current cabinet by ‘unorthodox’ means, support justice to the very end, blames parliament for its response to judiciary requests, supports Romania’s European and NATO path. In other words, as a whole, Mr. Iohannis seems to be what Romanians envisaged, a strong character and a trustworthy head of state.

And yet…

After ten years spent along Traian Basescu and his political attacks on the verge of constitutional prerogatives, the one who had filled thousands of pages in the media with themes made up often according to his own wishes, now it seems something is missing. Everything is too correct, too plain, too calm. We’ve seen Klaus Iohannis at the European Council, we’ve seen him to several celebrations, talking to important European and US officials. Yet, he is not the character to create themes, to bring to front the great issues of the nation.

Now he’s fallen in the trap set by its advisers to draw up a balance sheet in a petty politics style, reminding us of the efforts for euro-Atlantic commitments, of how justice needs to be supported, of his visit to NATO headquarters, of the messages he sent to Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and Kiev. Besides the visits, nothing is new under the sun. Justice should be supported, as should be the euro-Atlantic commitments and so on. It’s not Mr. Iohannis’s merit for most of these topics, although he may have contributed – by the simple fact that he is trustable, impressive and serious, and that he had been elected by the majority of Romanians.

As long as he had been mayor of Sibiu, Mr. Iohannis was, more or less, a civil servant working for Romanians. Now, as president, he risks building himself a sovereign statute. Sooner or later this could lead to the arrogance we were used to during the Adrian Nastase governing term.

It’s not the 100 days I am worried about, it’s about the 100 nights. One hundred nights during which Mr. Iohannis had to sort it out how to wipe out the image of Traian Basescu from the public conscience and the former president’s long-time popularity among most Romanians. He also had to recall former president Emil Constantinescu’s end of mandate confession, as being defeated by the ‘system’ and sort out the means to avoid this happening again. The intelligence services may have been reformed, but something tells me there are still people and interests that transcend politics, intelligence and business. I guess Mr. Iohannis spent some nights thinking how not to disappoint Romanians. After 100 nights of presidency he has somehow gone astray from the Romanians’ great wishes expressed by the saying ‘we’ve taken our country back’. Back where?

This is not intended to be criticism. We definitely needed a different character in the presidential seat and Klaus Iohannis looks to be the right man to do it. However, the first 100 nights have revealed a dangerous aspect: Romanians may get bored. And distrustful when it comes to achievements – when they wait too long. The perspective of winning general elections for the centre-right wing parties by the end of 2016 is not at all to the liking of most. It’s what the current political power wants, to delay any political change until people get bored by the others, saying: they’re good for nothing. At least the current government has done this and that.’

So, if Mr. Iohannis will insist to present us (after 200 or 300 nights) his great achievements in terms of justice and institutional mediation, he may find out Romanians get bored quickly. So bored, that they wouldn’t know whom to vote for next time. He already seems a little bit cut-off from the hopes of the ordinary citizen.


Victor Lupu


Dumbrava Sibiului ForestEmil Constantinescugovernmentklaus iohannisnatopresidencypresidentSibiutraian basescu
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