During first speech in Parliament, President Iohannis asked parties to give up populism, electoral pledges

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Romanian President Klaus Iohannis made his first speech in Parliament on Monday, informing he intends to address the Parliament at the beginning of every parliamentary session to talk about the country’s priorities. Iohannis said that we have to give up some practices such as populism and electoral pledges so that the political institutions should be reformed. “A nation’s progress cannot derive from a permanent conflict among its representatives,” the head of state considers.

“I want you to see my presence here as a sign of respect and openness for the legislative power. As Romania’s President, I therefore assume a fair institutional collaboration relation with the Parliament,” Iohannis stated, adding that such a partnership has also various practical reasons.

The President mentioned he wanted a strong Parliament, as a weak one represents a weak link inside the democratic construction, and by that he meant a steadfast integrity action and fairness when it comes to debating the judicial institutions’ requests.

“We have to give up some practices such as populism and electoral pledges to ensure a deep system transformation,” Klaus Iohannis stated, explaining that he meant by populism “not to table such measures that would affect the state architecture, not to table them without arguments just to gain votes”. Iohannis suggested parties not to design actions and voting systems that should increase their electoral benefits at a certain point.

“We have to admit that we are here, now due to populism and electoral promises. Not as a guilt, but as raising awareness, now when we have the chance to make things right. In some cases, rules have been created to respond to certain electoral interests, although they were known as ineffective. In other circumstances, the public’s fears have been inflamed on purpose, to create havoc, and the political conflict has shadowed any steady debate. All has been subdued to a political fight that made no sense on long-term, while it was energy-consuming and destroyed all hopes,” Iohannis pointed out.

Iohannis told parliamentary parties he expected them to meet the  promises to amend the electoral legislation, as agreed during the recent consultations at Cotroceni Palace. The parties vowed to debate a new electoral law package by the end of this parliamentary session. The pledges were related to laws regarding local and parliamentary elections, Diaspora voting system and parties’ financing.

As for him, the President said he is willing to mediate sensitive topics where the lack of dialogue led to a certain gridlock. He gave the example of the cyber security law, informing that he would table the National Defence Strategy during this parliamentary session.

On the other hand, he told the lawmakers that he would never use the referendum tool to populist effects, “just to gain votes”, while asking that “changes on the surface” should be dropped.


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