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Romania approves left-leaning government

January 4, 2017

Romania's new premier has vowed to raise the minimum wage, create infrastructure and discourage emigration. But the opposition has claimed the government will be unable to govern in "a European way."

Rumänien Parlament neue Regierung
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/V. Ghirda

Romania's parliament on Wednesday approved a left-leaning government led by the Social Democratic Party's (PSD) Sorin Grindeanu, effectively ending a year-long political crisis.

The legislature approved the government by 295 votes to 133 against, according to an official count.

Ahead of the vote, Grindeanu vowed to raise the minimum wage, build highways and discourage Romanians from emigrating, saying he wants a country "where people have the freedoms and rights that the vast majority of European citizens have."

"You will find in the governing program all the measures presented during the campaign by the PSD leader," Grindeanu said.

"In a normal country, the government seeks higher wages for citizens, not smaller wages in the hopes that more foreign investors will come," he added. "We want foreign investment, but one that offers well-paid jobs for Romanians."

'A European way'

In December, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis declined to nominate Sevil Shhaideh, who would have become the country's first female and Muslim premier.

Romanian parliament approves new leftist government

Local media reported that Iohannis' objection was not due to her faith, but instead dealt with her Syrian-born husband's background and his ties with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Shhaideh, a member of Romania's small Muslim minority, is to serve as the country's deputy premier and regional development minister.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Raluca Turcan said the PSD was incapable of "governing in a European way" given that their leader Liviu Dragnea continues to head the party after he was disqualified from joining the new government due to a conviction for electoral fraud.

The former PSD government fell in November 2015 after a deadly fire at a Bucharest nightclub prompted protests against government corruption.

While Brussels has called on Romania to tackle graft since it entered the European Union in 2007, analysts believe the new government may seek to slow down the fight against corruption.

Sorin Grindeanu, Romania's new premier, has promised to boost the economy through several measures
Sorin Grindeanu, Romania's new premier, has promised to boost the economy through several measuresImage: picture alliance/dpa/Photoshot

ls/se (AP, Reuters, AFP)