Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Transylvanian Mayor to Run for Romanian Presidency

Agence France-Presse

Bucharest: The mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, Klaus Iohannis, is to run for the Romanian presidency after being chosen as the right-wing National Liberal Party candidate on Monday.

"I want to be a president that brings people together, a mediator," Iohannis told party delegates.

The latest polls show that Iohannis, a Romanian of German origin, is likely to make it to any presidential runoff.

The Liberals are one of Romania's main political parties and choosing a candidate belonging to one of the country's minorities is rare.

A popular mayor in his central Romanian hometown, Iohannis is expected to also attract support from the centre-right Liberal Democrats, which has previously backed outgoing president Traian Basescu.

Iohannis is considered to have the best chance of challenging the Social Democrats' presidential candidate, who is likely to be the current Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

A physics teacher who has won consecutive local elections since first being elected in 2000, Iohannis won acclaim when Sibiu, a city founded by Saxon colonists in the 12th century and praised by Prince Charles, was proclaimed European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Unlike most Romanians with German ethnicity, Iohannis, 55, decided to stay in the country after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989 as he felt he had a "unique chance to do something for Sibiu".

More than 100,000 ethnic Germans fled the country with the collapse of the Ceausescu regime.

Iohannis has also represented the small centrist Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania party in local elections.

No comments: