Who Is Who: Klaus Iohannis, the New President of Romania

Southeast Europe | November 17, 2014, Monday // 09:10|  views

Presidential candidate Klaus Iohannis, Romania's new President, is seen here after first exit-poll figures were officially announced, in Bucharest, Romania, November 16 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Klaus Werner Iohannis, often described as a rare "gentleman" in Romania's politics which is frequently marked by brawls and infighting, is the winner of Romania's 2014 presidential run-off.

Iohannis has long claimed he is the most plausible candidate if the country is to pursue its pro-democracy, pro-EU path and has used nearly many occasions to underscore his reputation and successes as mayor.

He was born on June 13, 1959 in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, an idyllic place in the heart of Romania where the population was once mostly German-speaking and had a significant ethnic German population ever since first settlers from Central Europe came in the 12th century. Iohannis is an ethnic German himself.

Having graduated in 1983 from the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, where he studied Physics, he became a teacher of physics, an occupation he retained until 1997. Between 1997 and 1999 he worked as a Deputy General School Inspector of the Sibiu County and was promoted to head the inspectorate in 1999.

His political career began in 2000, when he became the city's mayor with his candidacy raised by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. He has often been described as the official who has helped Sibiu to rank among the country's most beloved tourist destinations, putting forth huge effort to renew the city's historic center, improve infrastructure and administrative efficiency. In 2007 Sibiu was European Capital of Culture alongside Luxembourg.

Iohannis joined the National Liberal Party in 2013. Four years back he had been tipped to become Romania's next Prime Minister, enjoying huge parliamentary support, but then-President Traian Basescu blocked the move. After this unsuccessful attempt he declared he might run one day to become the next head of state.

He is widely known for being an active Evangelical Lutheran (once the dominant religion in Sibiu), and Prime Minister Victor Ponta has often sought to portray him as not belonging to Romania's Orthodox majority over the weeks of the presidential campaign.

Iohannis speaks Romanian and German and is fluent in English.

He is married and has no children.

"I am running because I wish to establish a new kind of politics on our country. Less show, less noise, and more concrete solutions for citizens, for Romania," DW quotes him as having said at a number of campaign events.

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Tags: Klaus Iohannis, Sibiu, Traian Basescu, Victor Ponta


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