#2019PresidentialElection/PMP's Paleologu running on constitutional reform, 2.5pct of GDP for defence spending, no more school inspectorates

Theodor Paleologu, the People's Movement Party (PMP) candidate in the presidential election, on Wednesday unveiled the "short version" of his presidential programme, in which he promises among others, constitutional reform, 2.5pct of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending, and discarding the school inspectorates. "The programme is built around 3 pillars, namely: Respect, Education and Performance. The 'Respect' pillar includes a series of topics such as the reform of the Constitution, (...) it is a broad debate about the Constitution, about our system. Then, in the first part, I also talk about the duties (...) of the president, namely in the provinces of diplomacy, foreign policy and defence, (...) I talk about the EU crisis, a vision of the EU, security policy, about all these things that actually belong to what is called in political science the president's regal dimension," Paleologu told a press conference. The PMP candidate promises "the revision of the Constitution in order to bestow increased powers on the president, so that the president may have means according to the mandate received by universal suffrage - dissolving Parliament, replacing the prime minister, calling for early elections." At the same time, he aims to "reduce the number of MP seats to 300 and start a public debate on the type of parliament (one-chamber or bicameral) and the form of government (republic or monarchy)." Another direction envisaged is the reform of the intelligence services "by passing laws regulating their activity: the law on intelligence and counter-intelligence, the laws on the organisation and operation of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), the law on the the status and career of intelligence officers." He also wants "a gradual increase to 2.5pct of the GDP in defence spending in order to equip the Romanian armed forces with state-of-the-art weaponry and to organise a basic civic, military and first aid training for emergencies." Paleologu wants Romania to promote "the idea of creating an anti-terrorist intelligence agency, whose mission is to prevent acts of terrorism in the EU." He added that a second pillar of his programme is education. "I believe that education is alpha and omega. (...) The real reform of education starts with the teachers, it is about changing the teaching style (...)," said Paleologu. Also in the education chapter, innovation and research are to be encouraged and scholarships extended to students from Moldova. He pointed out that his vision on education is not an elitist one, designed only for the "privileged Romanians." The PMP candidate also supports the "disbandment of the school inspectorates," because "as they stand, they are highly politicised," proposing regional directorates instead. The third pillar in his programme, the one regarding meritocracy and performance, is about the "efficiency of the state." "The president, as the chief of state, should impart credibility to the state; he should be himself credible, set an example (...) to make the state credible or at least start being credible and that's why I speak of establishing meritocracy in the state apparatus. With very clear, drastic measures, I will not appoint generals or promote to rank soldiers who have not taken their studies seriously or got their diplomas fraudulently or plagiarised their doctorate theses. (...) The number of secretaries of state, ministerial advisers and advisers to secretaries of state has to be cut," said Paleologu. He also underlined the economic dimension of his programme designed to cut through red tape, increase economic freedom and predictability. AGERPRES (RO - author: Daniel Florea, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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