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Romanian president rejects left's PM candidate

December 27, 2016

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has rejected the leftist Social Democrat Party's (PSD) proposal to name Sevil Shhaideh as prime minister-designate. She would have been the country's first female and Muslim premier.

Sevil Shhaideh
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/O. Ganea

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis told reporters on Tuesday that having "carefully weighed up the pro and cons," he had decided to not appoint Sevil Shhaideh (pictured above) as prime minister.

"As a result, I am asking the Social Democrat Party (PSD) and [its coalition partner] ALDE to make a new proposal," Iohannis said. The president did not disclose any more details regarding his decision.

Were Shhaideh to have been appointed prime minister, she would have been Romania's first Muslim and female premier. Her nomination last week came as a shock to the nation, however, as she is still relatively unknown.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis Image: Getty Images/S. Gallup

Having only briefly served as regional development minister in 2015, Shhaideh has been criticized for a lack of political experience.

Insufficient experience

PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea is barred from becoming prime minister, however, due to a conviction of election fraud. He is currently serving a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Dragnea's personal closeness to Shhaideh has also been scrutinized by opponents. They claim that proposing Shhaideh for the premiership was simply Dragnea's way for her to become his puppet. In 2011, he was a witness at Shhaideh's wedding.

Having won 45 percent of the vote in Romania's parliamentary election earlier this month, the Social Democrats now share a majority coalition its long-time ally, the ALDE. With 250 members in the 465-seat two-house assembly, the PSD can easily give their government a vote of confidence and pass legislation.

ksb/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)