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Romanian President Iohannis Says He'll Seek Reelection In 2019

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on June 23 tells a news conference in Sibiu he will seek reelection.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis says he will seek a new five-year term in office in next year's election.

"I'm firmly determined to run for a new term as president of Romania," he said on June 23 during a visit to Sibiu, his native city.

The centrist Iohannis, 59, an ethnic German, became president in 2014 after campaigning on an anticorruption platform.

Iohannis is at loggerheads with the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), accusing it of attempting to weaken the fight against corruption, putting pressure on the judicial system, and implementing bad fiscal policies.

The leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, on June 21 was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the Supreme Court on charges of inciting others to abuse of office. He denies the charges and remains out of prison pending his appeal.

Thousands of Romanians on June 23 protested outside the government offices in the capital, Bucharest, and in other cities against controversial PSD-backed amendments to justice laws and the penal code that critics say will set back efforts to prosecute corruption.

Some of the protesters targeted Dragnea’s office, saying he would benefit from the legislation.

Iohannis, the European Commission, and the U.S. State Department have criticized the proposed changes to judicial legislation, saying they could derail the rule of law.

Iohannis on June 8 joined other members of NATO's eastern flank, known as the "Bucharest Nine," in calling on the Western alliance to bolster its presence in their region at the upcoming summit in the face of what they see as Russian "aggression."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Romanian Insider