Speech of Prince Radu of Romania
On the occasion of the announcement of his candidacy to the Presidential Election of 2009 in Romania
Elisabeta Palace, April 9, 2009, 7 p.m.
Almost twenty years have passed since the fall of the communist dictatorship. The entire nation lived in the hope of freedom, wishing for progress and waited for the fulfilment of a dream much postponed by history. When a people cannot endure anymore, when a system humiliates its own citizens, when dignity and hope expire, then great changes occur.
Since 1990, every four years, different sources of power claimed in different manners, that they would change Romania, prompting an enthusiastic public response. People came out or were encouraged to come out onto the streets, flags were waved, and Champagne was consumed, and then we all embarked on a new mandate of disappointment. Of course, freedoms progressed, but with time democracy was inhibited. The political battle progressed on all fronts: left against right, reds against oranges, greens against nationalists. At the same time, respect for institutions, professionalism, and values were rarely manifested.
Democracy was reduced to a permanent fight for power, in which Romanian citizens were set against other Romanian citizens, and even against their own institutions and symbols. And this happened only because these institutions and symbols did not please those in power. During all this, paradoxically, hope was maintained through a negative source, namely hate. We hated the people before us; we denied the people before us and then accused them of failing in everything we could not undertake.
Twenty years ago we did not just ache for liberty, but also for the rule of law, truth and justice, correctness, respect and dignity. Not all of which were truly acquired. So I ask, “Where are we in public life after twenty years?”
• We have a State at the mercy of some individuals.
• We have a democracy defined by laws that are not respected or implemented – starting with the Constitution.
• We have individual freedom, but we have more and more abuses of it.
• We have hundreds of thousands of people who do not have the dignity of work because we did not take into consideration the need to secure the work place and we did not have a coherent policy for the construction of the country.
• We worry for the needs of today, and we do not really believe in a better tomorrow.
• We do not have institutions, leaders and values of which we can be sure and proud.
• We lost our instinct to take the right paths, and we inexplicably continue to make the same mistakes.
The ways in which we treated State institutions, and the ways in which we behave with one another, have thrown us into a vicious circle and ruined every source of progress. In all these years of opportunity we rarely put the right person in the right place. Politics didn’t serve the institutions but sought to enslave them. In the absence of stable and respected institutions of State, the alternance of political parties to power rendered useless even the negative vote. In an odd democratic way, people go to the ballot, but their ballot is insignificant because of those who are elected and the system that created them. The same people play the game of power, being prisoners of their own circle, substituting the institutional ethic of service with their personal wish.
Standing before you today, I do not promise miracles. I do not stand in front of the country claiming to usher in the paradise promised by others at the end of communism. What I am doing today is to call you all to stand together for the awakening of the country. I call on you to reinstate order and dignity in Romania’s Affairs, to respect the Constitution and institutions, our laws, and to respect ourselves, every day, from morning until evening, even when no one is watching us. We need, especially in a time of economic crisis to put the right person in the right position throughout public life.
For the past twenty years the system has always depended, too much, on the behaviour and actions of individuals, who were frequently incompetent. Greed and superficiality maintained only mediocrity in the public arena, and further installed false models with severe social consequences.
Almost 150 years ago, Carol I built the Romanian State based on the principle of professionalism. Modern institutions were then constructed on the basis of professional quality and skill. It was a time of aspiration towards the National Good. Our Nation defined herself in the history of Europe through her Independence and then through her Union.
The Royal House of 1866, as it does to this day, directed its efforts into unifying the good energies, talents and skills of the people of Romania. The Academy, the Church, the Armed Forces and the Royal House were distilled the talents necessary for the progress of the nation.
We conquered our Independence because we stayed united. We realised the Great Union because we were together. We started building a modern country because we were united. We overcame crises and we were victorious in wars because we were united.
There is no secret here. Honourable, selfless people, professionals do not divide, they do not destroy. Professionals inspire, build and unite. They bring value to their craft; they bring value to their age and country in working together. The professional unites, the amateur divides.
The answers do not come from a single person; the solution does not stay in the hands of a “father” who rules our destiny and our life. Hope is in us all; it wells up through us. Hope abides in the young people who were born after 1989. Hope abides too in the elderly people who started their lives in a Romania who did not hang her head in shame. Hope is to be found in the three million Romanians who honourably represent us in Europe and in America and in the millions across the Prut River, in the Republic of Moldova. Hope rests with all the people who remained the same during the four decades of communism and the following twenty years of illusions. Hope is further found in our independence. Independence from political games played for the sake of grasping power. Independence from prejudice.
Today I propose to start with the first step. With the first institution of the country, the one that sets a personal example, which is the most visible expression of the nation: namely the institution of the President of Romania.
I announce with hope and confidence that I will run for the Office of President of Romania during the November 2009 elections.
The candidacy of an independent for Presidency, free from all party obligations, guarantees the untainted exercise of the mandate. Romania’s political repositioning can start from the President. Only in this way will the Parliament, The Government, The Judiciary and political parties pursue their service in the interest of the nation, without interference from above.
A President, who is a former party member, cannot leave behind party allegiance in order to represent all Romanians. That is the first imperfection of democracy in our country. Such a person remains connected to the obligations and interests of his party, and tries to impose it into power, and to create opportunities to the detriment of the other parties and of society on the whole. Such a President is nothing less than a second Prime Minister. This is the cause of ambiguity, stagnation and conflict at the top of our country.
The representatives of political parties in the core institutions of the State have directed their efforts to maintain a hold on power for as long as possible. And the institutions were used as tools to further personal interests instead of being used to perform public functions.
We will not be able to build a modern, predictable, honest and respected Romanian State unless we lay foundations of confidence and loyalty between the institutions, as well as between the State and citizens. Until this happens, Romania will be at the mercy of the individual and of the various groups in power.
We cannot conceive of a respected Romanian administration within Europe without returning to the fundamental values of life: family, faith, school and education, civil society, culture, language, and history. Without taking into consideration the natural, simple love of our country, the need for generosity, responsibility and confidence in ourselves, we will not have the power to achieve together a modern society, professionally and correctly administered.
The destiny of a people and a nation cannot be measured in elections and alternation in power, but in the liberation of each person’s potential in order to achieve something for the country. I think we can do this together. As does my wife and our Family, I live the values I believe in. We believe in a different Romania. We are convinced that together we all have a future!
A member of the Royal Family in a republic or in a constitutional monarchy has in each and every moment of their life an obligation to be useful to their country, as they have not just an human identity, but also collective hallmark, symbolising the aspirations and identity of the nation in an historical and political moment.
My candidacy does not aim for the restoration of the Monarchy. In a democracy the change of the form of government is not the prerogative of the Head of State. Such an option may only be determined by the whole Nation.
A European Romania, proudly using the values that founded her modern State, will be a more powerful, pragmatic country, capable of facing moments that may not be either peaceful or quiet.
It is my wish that my gesture today can relieve the political and institutional deadlock with which Romania is confronted. The maintenance and escalation of controversies between the main political actors of the country only serve to push Romania into political, economic and social chaos and into international isolation.
As President I will constitutionally guarantee the independence of The Judiciary, uphold the Rule of Law, and I will not tolerate injustices and abuses. The value of fairness in justice must be permanently defended. Romanians must feel properly represented and protected in their own country, in Europe and in the world.
As from December 2009, Romanians will never have to hide their passport in shame. Respect and the law in the country will be restored, promoting dignity and honour outside. Walk with pride in the world! This will be Romania.
In the last twenty years we voted sometimes right, sometimes left. But we always voted against something, not for something. We have always denied, we have not yet built.
I am not a candidate of the left, neither am I a candidate of the right. Moreover I am not a political candidate, nor do I stand before the country to throw stones at anybody.
I stand here today, to lay the foundation stone of a respected Romania, which we have forgotten we deserve.