Iohannis appealed fine for discriminatory statement

President Klaus Iohannis has challenged the RON 5,000 (approximately EUR 1,000) fine imposed on him by the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) for his statement regarding the draft law on the autonomy of Szekerland. The appeal, which asks for the annulment of the CNCD decision no. 443 of May 20, was submitted to the Bucharest Court on Friday. Until now, the court has not set a date to start the process.

On May 20, the CNCD fined President Klaus Iohannis RON 5,000 for an act of discrimination and for violating the dignity of an ethnic/national minority. Iohannis was fined for his statement of April 29, when he accused the ethnic Hungarian minority in Transylvania, the Social Democratic Party and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of plotting to give Transylvania to Hungary.

“Jó napot kívánok PSD! (He said in Hungarian, which means Good day, PSD! – ed. note) It is unbelievable, dear Romanians, what is going on in the Parliament of Romania. The PSD has helped the RMDSZ pass a law in the House of Representatives that gives large autonomy to Szeklerland. It is unbelievable to what point this PSD has brought us. It is unbelievable what agreements are made in the Parliament. While myself, the government and the other authorities are fighting for the lives of the people, fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the Romanian Social Democrat Party, the big Romanian Social Democrat Party, is fighting in secret parliamentary offices to give Transylvania to the Hungarians,” the president said regarding the bill.

“Good day Ciolacu!” Iohannis said, again in Hungarian, addressing the chairman of PSD. “What did the leader from Budapest, Viktor Orbán, promise you in exchange for this agreement?” he added.

The background of his statement is that at the end of April, the lower chamber of Parliament allowed an autonomy bill for Transylvania to pass tacitly without voting on it. However, on the same day that Iohannis made his statement, the Senate voted the bill down, which Iohannis already knew.

According to the decision of the CNCD, this statement was discriminatory and violated the right to dignity for an ethnic/national minority. The act of discrimination was established by six members of the board. The fine was supported by five votes, the CNCD announced on May 20.

President Klaus Iohannis announced on the same day that he will challenge the CNCD decision in court, as he believes the respective decision was a political one.

“The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis took note of the National Council for Combating Discrimination’s decision. Considering that the CNCD decision is a deeply political one, the President of Romania will challenge this decision with the relevant court,” the Presidential Administration stated.

Title image: According to the CNCD, Iohannis violated the dignity of an ethnic/national minority. Photo: Presidential Administration

Author: Orsi Sarány