Klaus Iohannis is the incumbent President of Romania, a NATO member country. Prior to holding the presidential office, Iohannis was Mayor of Sibiu (2000 – 2014), Leader of the National Liberal Party (2014) and leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (2002 – 2013).
Early Life and Education
On June 13, 1959, Klaus Iohannis was born to German descent technician father Gustav Heinz Johannis and nurse mother Susanne. He was raised in Sibiu, Romania and went to the Babes-Bolyai University for an undergraduate degree in physics.
A proficient in German, Romanian, and English, Iohannis is married to Carmen Johannis since 1989. The Romanian First Lady is a teacher at a college in Sibiu. The presidential family does not yet have a child.
Prior to embarking on political routes, Iohannis decided to take another professional path. After graduating from the university, he started working as a physics teacher at numerous institutions. Subsequently, Iohannis was appointed as the Sibiu’s Deputy General School Inspector (1997) and General School Inspector (1999).
While working as a teacher in 1990, Iohannis entered the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. The membership gave him significant political positions such as member of board of education board. Also, Iohannis got elected as Mayor of Sibiu in 2000 with 69.81% votes in favor. With this win, he had been the first ever German ethnicity in Romania to hold such a post. Moreover, his leadership proved to be unprecedentedly productive with increasing tourism, infrastructural development, and transparent administration.
In 2007, under Iohannis’ leadership, Sibiu was titled as the European Capital of Culture. This increased his popularity and he became people’s favorite. Hence, Iohannis’ coalition parliamentary group nominated him to lead the government as Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the incumbent President Traian Basesu tacitly rejected the nomination by putting forward the name of a top economist, Lucian Croitoru. This move from the incumbent President was deemed as selfish and a bid to influence upcoming presidential elections.
Despite several criticisms, Basesu didn’t turn down, hence Iohannis carried on with his job as Mayor of Sibiu until 2014. On June 14, 2013, he became elected Vice President of the National Liberal Party. the following year, on June 28, Iohannis unanimously ascended the post of party president. As a member of the new party, Iohannis decided to bid for the presidency. He appeared at the first rank with 30.37% votes, following first presidential election round. In the final election, Iohannis saw a neck-to-neck victory.
Taking office on December 21 as the successor of Trajan Basescu, Iohannis always stressed on draining out corruption and strengthening impartiality of Romanian judiciary. In addition, Romanian economy has also flourished quite well. The GDP growth rate is at 4.7% and the unemployment rate is just around 5.5%. Moreover, the price levels are rising by a mere 0.1% and the Government Debt to GDP ratio has decreased to 38.4%. More importantly, the GDP per capita has increased by around $400 in comparison to last year.
As President, Iohannis has already done 14 international trips. On February 10, 2015, he joined French President Francois Hollande in Paris to discuss on France-Romania ties. Similarly, in 2015, he went to 8 more visits to several European nations such as Spain and Germany.
In September 2015, Iohannis was in the United States for UN General Assembly and bilateral meetings with President Barack Obama and Vice-President Biden. Recently, in January, he made a visit to France for meetings with European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe.
- Honorary senator of the Babeș-Bolyai University
- Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, 2006
- Knight of the Order of the Star of Romania, 2007
- Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, Italy, 2008
- Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, 2009
- Medal of Honor “Friend of the Jewish Communities in Romania”, 2010
- Honorary plaque of the Association of Expatriates in Germany, 2010
- Knight of the National Order of Merit of Romania, 2011
- Order of Stara Planina, Bulgaria, 2016
- Order of the White Eagle, Poland, 2016
Donald Trump and Iohannis
Two months ago, President Iohannis rejected the nomination of a Muslim leader for Prime Minister of Romania. To some extent, it seems from this decision that Iohannis also has an aggressive nature towards Muslims. Hence, it’s reasonable to say that US President Donald Trump and Iohannis will get along well – at least on religion.