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President Iohannis: Liberals are at war with PSD, this conflict is not of doctrinal nature

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Klaus Iohannis

President Klaus Iohannis, speaking on Friday at the EPP headquarters in Brussels during a meeting with representatives and supporters of the National Liberal Party (PNL) from the diaspora, said that he and the Liberals are "at war" with the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and that this conflict is of no doctrinal nature, but was generated by PSD's "attack" on the Romanians.

"We are - and I say this with the due sadness - at war now, we are waging war against the PSD. (...) This is not a doctrinal war, and will you please make the difference! It's a war between a political force that has taken power through elections and then diverted it, and us, the others, the President and the opposition who are siding with the Romanians. (...) We are now in an electoral competition, in an electoral battle and we hope that our winning these battles will bring this war to an end, because a nation cannot be endlessly at war with itself. This is seriously harmful to the society," the President said.

Iohannis added that in December 2016 PNL "lost in a shameful manner" while PSD won "by an extraordinary, completely unexpected score".

"The explanation was and is relatively simple. We did too little, they did very much. They promised the Romanians that milk and honey will flow, that they will bring down the Moon from the skies and do all the wonders possible. In good faith, the Romanians fell for this. We, on our part, made no counter-offer whatsoever. It's not that we didn't make a better counter-offer, we made none. Bad luck. ... But that's how it was and we have to admit to all this, otherwise we cannot make the necessary corrections. The PSD came to rule and instead of making milk and honey flow, they set to work on their real program of pulling apart the rule of law in Romania, dismantling the large public systems, by arranging top positions for their cronies, acquaintances and kins, which ultimately resulted in a - not just figurative - attack on the Romanians," he said.

The President said that all this culminated in a "physical attack on the Romanians" at the rally on August 10, 2018, which he called "an example of urban warfare."

"It was an urban warfare that pitted the PSD against the Romanians, particularly the Romanians from the diaspora, because many had come home from abroad to protest against the PSD. They were welcomed with truncheons, tear gas and gendarmes equipped for urban warfare. Somebody had to take the side of the Romanians in this situation. And these were myself, the PNL and a few others from the opposition. We took the side of the Romanians and openly declared ourselves anti-PSD," Iohannis said.

The President added that from a doctrinal point of view he considers himself to be a liberal and has no intention to disown his party origins.

"Election-wise and doctrinally I still consider myself to be a liberal, even if formally the President cannot be a member of a party. But believe me, I have absolutely no intention to disown my party origins. And I'll never be anything else but a liberal," he added.

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