Klaus Werner Iohannis (spelled Johannis) (born 13 June 1959) is a Romanian politician. He was elected the fifth President of Romania on 16 November 2014. He became leader of the National Liberal Party in 2014, after having served as leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania from 2002 to 2013. Iohannis was a physics teacher and a school inspector before pursuing a full-fledged political career.
Iohannis was first elected mayor of the city of Sibiu in 2000, representing the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. Although the German population of the once predominantly German-speaking city of Sibiu has declined to a tiny minority, Iohannis won a surprise victory and was re-elected by landslides in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Iohannis is credited with turning his city into one of Romania's most popular tourist destinations, and the city was declared a European Capital of Culture in 2007. In February 2013, Iohannis became a member of the National Liberal Party, accepting an invitation from Liberal leader Crin Antonescu, and was immediately elected the party's First Vice President, becoming the party's President the following year.
In October 2009, four of the five political groups in the Parliament, excluding the Democrat Liberal Party of then-President Traian Băsescu, proposed him as a candidate for the office of Prime Minister of Romania; however, Băsescu refused to nominate him despite the Parliament's adoption of a declaration supporting his candidacy. He was again the candidate for Prime Minister of theNational Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in the elections in the same year.
Iohannis is a Transylvanian Saxon, part of Romania's German minority which settled in Transylvania in the 12th century.
Born in a house in the historic centre of Sibiu to a Transylvanian Saxon family, Klaus Iohannis is the eldest child of Susanne and Gustav Heinz Johannis. He also has a sister, Krista Johannis. Both his parents as well as his sister emigrated from their nativeSibiu (German: Hermannstadt) to Würzburg in Germany in 1992, acquiring citizenship there under the German Law of Return,as did many other Transylvanian Saxons after the fall of the Iron Curtain. As of 2014, his parents, sister and a niece live in Würzburg. Iohannis has stated that his family settled in Transylvania in present-day Romania 850 years ago. Furthermore he did not follow his family to Germany because his wife wished to stay in Romania.
After graduating from the Faculty of Physics of the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca in 1983, Iohannis worked as a high school physics teacher at various schools and colleges in Sibiu, including, from 1989 to 1997, the Samuel von BrukenthalGymnasium in Sibiu, the oldest German-speaking school in Romania. From 1997 to 1999, he was Deputy General School Inspector of Sibiu County, and from 1999 until his election as mayor in 2000, he was the General School Inspector, head of public schools in the county.
Iohannis is fluent in German and Romanian at a native level and also speaks English. The original spelling of his name (which is German) is Johannis, but the name was registered by a Romanian official as Iohannis on his birth certificate and he has used both spellings interchangeably. In 1989, he married ethnic Romanian Carmen Georgeta Lăzurca, an English teacher at theGheorghe Lazăr National College in Sibiu. They have no children.
Iohannis is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania, the German-speaking Lutheran church in Transylvania.
He joined the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania in 1990, and served as a member of its board of education in Transylvania from 1997, and a member of the local party board in Sibiu from 1998. In 2001, he was elected President of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania.
In 2000, the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR) in Sibiu decided to back him as a candidate for mayor. Despite the fact that Sibiu's German minority had shrunken to a mere 1.6%, Iohannis was elected with 69.18% of the votes and has won three re-elections in a row, getting some of the largest electoral scores in the country: 88.7% of the vote in 2004, and 87.4% in 2008. He is the first ethnic German mayor of a Romanian city since Albert Dörr, who served from 1940 to 1945. The small German minority is popular in Romania, where they are often viewed as hard-working, precise and uncompromising. Many Romanians also remember that the country experienced some of its best moments under German kings over a century ago.
Throughout his tenure as mayor, he has worked to restore the town's infrastructure and to tighten the city administration. Iohannis is also widely credited with turning the city into one of Romania's most popular tourist destinations thanks to the extensive renovation of the old downtown. During his first term, Iohannis worked with a city council that had a social democrat majority. Since 2004, during his second and third terms, his own party, FDGR, had the majority. Since 2008, FDGR has 14 out of 23 councilors,PDL has 4, PSD has 3, and PNL has 2.
Iohannis established contacts with foreign officials and investors. Sibiu was declared the European Capital of Culture of 2007, along with Luxembourg (the bearer of the distinction in 1995).[clarification needed] Luxembourg chose to share this honourable status with Sibiu due to the fact that many of the Transylvanian Saxons emigrated in the 12th century to Transylvania from the area where Luxembourg is today. Sibiu, or Hermannstadt in German, was built by the Transylvanian Saxons, was for many centuries the cultural centre of that group, and was a predominantly German-speaking city until the mid 20th century. Many Germans left the city after World War II, and especially in 1990, within months of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
On November 4, 2005, Iohannis was nominated as the "Personality of the Year for a European Romania" (Personalitatea anului pentru o Românie europeană) by the Eurolink – House of Europe organization.
On October 14, 2009, the leaders of the opposition parliamentary groups (the National Liberal Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, and the group of smaller ethnic minorities), proposed Iohannis as a candidate for Prime Minister of Romania, after the government of Prime Minister Emil Boc fell a day before as a result of a motion of no confidence in the Parliament. Coming from outside the national-level politics of Romania, Iohannis has the image of an independent politician, although his party has consistently allied itself with, and Iohannis has campaigned in the latest European Parliament elections for the National Liberal Party. The National Liberal Party (PNL), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), and the group of small ethnic minorities in the Parliament subsumed Iohannis as their common candidate for Prime Minister of an interim government. On October 14, Klaus Iohannis confirmed acceptance of his candidacy. However, on October 15, the President Traian Băsescu nominated Lucian Croitoru, a top Romanian economist, as Prime Minister, and charged the latter with forming the country's next government.
After the second round of talks, a day before Croitoru's nomination, Băsescu noted: "Some parties have proposed Klaus Iohannis. I would like you to know that I have not rejected the possibility for him to become Prime Minister in the condition that my options would be directed towards other [national unity government] solutions. But I have rejected such a proposal because it comes from PSD or another party [PNL]", referring to his alleged constraint to consider a proposal of the largest party (PDL), constraint disputed by the other parties. The opposition criticized the President for not designating Iohannis. Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoană accused Băsescu of trying to influence the upcoming presidential elections by having them organized by a sympathetic government. Crin Antonescu, the leader of the National Liberals, vowed his party would derail other nominations but Iohannis'. After the nomination of Croitoru, Antonescu, a candidate in the presidential election, stated that he would nominate Iohannis as Prime Minister if elected President. Three days later, on October 18, Geoană suggested Antonescu was trying to use Iohannis as an "electoral agent" for Antonescu's bid for president. In response, Antonescu told the press that Iohannis "is not the type of person that would let himself being used". Geoană and PSD leadership has held a second meeting with Iohannis in Bucharest in the evening of October 18. UDMR, which the previous day announced it would also attend, declared in the morning that all their leaders are not in the city. PNL was present at the meeting by lower level representatives, after Antonescu announced in the morning he is on campaign in Cluj-Napoca. On October 21, the Parliament adopted with 252 votes for (of PSD, PNL, UDMR and minorities groups) and 2 against a declaration requesting the President to nominate Iohannis as Prime Minister.
On February 20, 2013, Klaus Iohannis joined the PNL, announcing this during a press conference with Crin Antonescu. At a PNL extraordinary congress, he was elected First Vice President of the Party. In the meeting of 28 June 2014, he was elected President of the PNL with 95% of the votes.
In 2009, Iohannis had stated that he might possibly run for the office of President of Romania, although not in 2009. Former Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu had said on October 27, 2009 and again on April 23, 2010 that he would like to see Iohannis become President of Romania.
PNL and PDL started in the summer of 2014 procedures to strengthen the political right. The two parties will eventually merge under the name PNL, but went for elections in an alliance: the Liberal Christian Alliance (Alianța Creștin-Liberală). On August 11, the alliance chose Iohannis as its candidate for the presidential election in November  and so he was registered as an official presidential candidate. He received 30.37% of the votes in the first round.
At the second round on November 16 he was elected President of Romania with 56% of the votes.
On November 16th, Klaus Iohannis was elected the fifth President of Romania, winning against the PSD candidate Victor-Viorel Ponta. Iohannis won the elections with 54.5% of the votes. He is due to take office on 22 December. His presidential campaign focused on fighting corruption and on improving the justice system.
He is due to take the office on December 22, 2014, when Traian Băsescu's term ends.
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