On Monday, July 3rd, Eduard Hellvig, the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service SRI announced his resignation after 8 years in office. He was appointed to the position on March 3, 2015, at the proposal of the current President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis.
It is healthy for a director of services to have a limited mandate. It’s a gesture of democratic health. It is a wrong custom in our country, that those who hold positions of power do not leave them until the last moment. Most people who hold power do not relinquish it when they achieve their goals for various reasons. I personally believe that such a step is needed. It is primarily a gesture of democratic health, which I have argued unequivocally since the first year of my mandate. It is healthy for democracy, for the balance of power in the state, for an intelligence service director to have a time-limited mandate.
Petrification in the office is not good; it can lead to setting wrong objectives for the institution, to losing contact with social reality, to confusion between the institution and the person who holds the mandate as director. I do not want this for myself, nor for an institution that is more valuable than any director it has had. I do not want to avoid the frontal approach of a topic that is legitimately debated in the public space: the position of director of an intelligence service gives access to a significant volume of sensitive information. I don’t think it’s good for democracy for one person to concentrate exposure to classified information for a long time. Quite simply, I believe that the citizens and the state are better served if the leadership of the SRI is succeeded by leaders at clearly established time intervals. I believe that since I have achieved my stated goals, there is no reason to continue to exercise this position.The head of the Romanian Intelligence Service on his resignation from office
Despite the official announcement, Bucharest journalists feel this move prepares a bigger one for the elections in 2024. Namely, Eduard Hellvig could prepare for the presidential elections from next year.
The current president Klaus Johannis finishes his second term int he office and he is not able to help his party, the National Liberals, too much. The party needs a strong leader, but the current one, former Chief of Army Staff, Nicolae Ciuca, is not much of a politician, despite his experience as Prime Minister. If he would run for the presidency in 2024, his chances of gathering enough political support and votes are questionable.
This is why such a political move is done way ahead of the next year’s elections. Namely, Eduard Hellvig has plenty of political experience, as he was in the management of the National Liberal Party, but also has the necessary leadership abilities to coordinate the party’s efforts for the next year’s elections.
Of course, it is too early to jump to conclusions now, but such a scenario is plausible in the current political context. Either way, the resignation of Eduard Hellvig is quite a significant event in the regional context, with the Ukrainian – Russian conflict at the border.