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By BosNewsLife News Center with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST (BosNewsLife) Romania’s Parliament has sworn in the first ethnic German as president of the former Communist nation, at a time when the country remembers the 25th anniversary of a bloody revolution that ended decades of Communist dictatorship. Former mayor Klaus Iohannis promised a different style from the combative outgoing president Traian Basescu.
Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel prayed for his presidency as the country faces major challenges. The blessing in front of Parliament in Bucharest came after the 55-year-old Pro-Western Iohannis was sworn in as Romania’s president Sunday.
The center right politician told the joint session of the lower house and senate that he becomes president following “an election that was a triumph for democracy, 25 years after communism ended” when devoted Christians and ethnic minorities, including ethnic Germans and Hungarians, faced persecution.
Speaking in the blue-and-gold domed hall of the parliament building built by former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, he also said there is need for “the whole political class to understand there is no other way for Romania except that of a country rid of corruption.”
He said he aimed to turn one of the European Union’s poorest countries into a “powerful nation.”
Iohannis explained he also wanted that at the end of his term “people can see we made durable laws, solid institutions.”
He surprisingly defeated Prime Minister Victor Ponta last month’s run-off ballot.
Analysts say he tapped into anger from thousands of overseas voters who were unable to cast their ballots in the first round.
Iohannis has promised unusual Romanian politics.
The slow-speaking ethnic German mayor of Sibiu refuses to participate in bitter personal attacks.
And he promised good relations with the U.S. the EU and particularly Germany.
After he arrived at Cotroceni Palace, the headquarters and residence of the president of Romania, he received honors at a ceremony attended by his predecessor Traian Basescu.
Yet he appeared somewhat uncomfortable in his new role, visibly realizing the challenges ahead.
Mr Iohannis never said in his speech that Romania is one of European Union’s poorest countries. You always say. Mr Iohannis never said in his speech that devoted Christians and ethnic minorities, including ethnic Germans and Hungarians, faced persecution upon Communism. You always say it.
Communism persecuted everybody, and persecuted Romanians in much grater number and much more brutally than it persecuted Germans and your Hungarians. You either don’t know it or don’t want to know it.
Mr. Iohannis is a German Romanian who is much appreciated by Romanians no matter of their nationality. Mr. Iohannis makes no difference among Romanians and their nationalities.
We did not want to suggest he said Romania is one of the EU’s poorest countries, but noticed it as a fact, based on official EU and other estimates, and indeed quoted him as saying that he wants to turn it into a “powerful nation”. We could have chosen the words “made clear” instead of “said”, though it becomes clear from the quotes how it was meant. That we mention persecution is logically linked to the focus of our news agency. It also makes clear to an international audience what Communism meant for many. The story uses the word “including”, and that does not rule out suffering endured by other citizens in Romania.
Thank you for your comment,
Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife