Pro-Western Klaus Iohannis sworn in as president vowing to build “a European, modern and strong Romania”

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea

Romania’s pro-Western President Klaus Iohannis was officially sworn in as the country’s president for a second term on Saturday and vowed to make „the people’s dreams of a European, modern and strong Romania come true.”

Iohannis won 66% of the vote in the November 24 runoff in a landslide victory against former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila of the Social Democratic Party who took about 33%.

Dressed in a dinner suit, Iohannis addressed Parliament and said he accepted “with great emotions the second mandate of the president of Romania.”

Addressing sharp divisions within Romania, Iohannis, 60, said he said he would do his job within the confines of the constitution. “I promise to be the president for all Romanians,” Iohannis said while taking the oath.

Iohannis campaigned for closer ties with the European Union and pledged to continue the anti-corruption fight and uphold the rule of law. Compared to John F Kennedy by his supporters, Iohannis was backed many Romanians who saw him as the best chance to keep Romania on its pro-European path.

The former mayor of the medieval city of Sibiu who is from the small ethnic German minority pledged to strengthen strategic ties with NATO and the United States in his address to Parliament.

In his speech, he evoked the 1989 uprising which Romanians are commemorating this week.  “The 1989 Revolution through its bloodshed gave Romania its European destiny,” he said. “ But beyond obvious progress, the result of last 30 years is not satisfactory, it isn’t at the level of society’s expectations and if we look at the real potential of the country, it’s disappointing.”

More than 1,100 people died and 3,000 were injured, tortured or arbitrarily imprisoned. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday calling on Romania to boost efforts to look dig out the truth of the revolution.

Romania’s acting general prosecutor Bogdan Licu  apologized to the victims of the revolution for the failure of the state to bring to justice individuals who shot on unarmed demonstrators.

Looking ahead, Iohannis said the main goal of his five-year mandate was “to build a prosperous and secure country with a functioning state, with consolidated democratic institutions, where the law applies to everyone” he said, where Romania is “a powerful voice in Europe and in the world, a country which promotes its values and identity and protects its resources.”


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