Talking about the imminence of an emergency ordinance on amnesty and pardon during a meeting with youngsters from Bucharest on Tuesday evening, President Klaus Iohannis has stated that amnesty and pardon cannot be ignored giving their potential social impact, also using a controversial phrase including the term “autistic”.
“If we look behind to what happened with this PSD governments, I can tell you that we cannot pretend we are autistic and that the ordinance on amnesty and pardon is not at issue. There is much debate about it! The last time such an ordinance has been adopted, we almost had a revolution, so it has been a major public order issue. Or, the prime minister or anyone in the government cannot tell me I cannot attend the sittings if the amnesty and pardon is being discussed, if we might have public order issues after that,” the head of state told the young winners of the Civic Avengers competition part of the Once Upon a Time in Romania project of Initiative Romania
Later on, the President’s spokeswoman, Mădălina Dobrovolschi, issued a statement explaining the head of state “has had no intention by any means to infringe the right of people suffering of autism”.
“Romania’s President has had no intention, by any means, to infringe the right of the people suffering of autism. Romania’s President apologizes if there are people who felt hurt following his statement,” Dobrovolschi told media agencies.
All in all, Klaus Iohannis stated at the same meeting that he cannot give up the independence of justice and the rule of law, arguing that he won’t question these two aspects in a discussion with politicians who “want to question precisely these things.”
When asked “Have you thought about changing the parliamentary republic form into a presidential republic, because, this way, you would have greater power to make changes?”, President Iohannis replied that he thought about it, but this is how the Constitution of Romania drafted and that “the Romanian voter prefers to have some balance which, unfortunately, often leads to divergences, as we have now”.
“But if I would be willing to talk without emotion about things that fall under the fiscal or economic policy or about what we do with schools, I am not at all willing to compromise when talking about the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Romania. Here, I have a very clear opinion – we need an independent justice, it is mandatory and we want a rule of law in Romania. We want to be in Europe, I am not willing at all to question these things in a discussion with politicians who, and you certainly noticed that, want to question precisely these things. This is out of the question and so, naturally, we have these differences of opinions and, in the end, the voters should say which is the version they want. I am convinced they want the version described by me, at least a large majority,” the head of state mentioned.
Democracy is at risk, criminals were not allowed to rule, not even in communism
During the same meeting, the Romanian President warned the youngsters that democracy is at risk in Romania, stressing that not even in the communists’ time, people with criminal records would not get to the top of the state.
“(…) How can we be in 2018 and discuss about amnesty and pardon in public, because some criminally convicted people are running the ruling party? It is unthinkable. There has been no such thing in Romania, ever. Not even during the communists’ time, people with criminal records could not just get to the top of the state. If Ceausescu used to issue a pardon decree it was because it was his birthday or a state anniversary, but under no circumstances in order to clean the files of his party fellows. Giving that these people came to rule now, democracy is in danger in Romania and we have to be aware of that“, Iohannis pointed out.