romanian president rejects left’s premier candidate
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Romanian President Rejects Left’s Premier Candidate

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Arab Today, arab today Romanian President Rejects Left’s Premier Candidate

Sevil Shhaideh
Bucharest - Arab Today

Romania’s president on Tuesday rejected the left-wing Social Democrats’ candidate for prime minister, Sevil Shhaideh, who would have been the EU country’s first female and Muslim premier.

“I have properly analysed the arguments for and against and I have decided not to accept this proposal,” Klaus Iohannis told reporters in a televised statement.

“I call on the PSD coalition to make another proposal,” he said. He gave no reasons for his rejection of Shhaideh, who is from Romania’s small Turkish minority.

The PSD had put forward Shhaideh, 52, after its thumping election victory on December 11 when it won 45 per cent of the vote.

The leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, had withdrawn his bid to become prime minister because he is serving two-year suspended sentence for electoral fraud.

Shhaideh’s political experience is limited, having served as development minister for six months before the previous PSD-led government resigned in late 2015.

This and her personal closeness to Dragnea — he was a witness at her 2011 wedding to a Syrian businessman — have stoked opposition accusations that she would merely be a puppet.

The choice had fuelled speculation that Dragnea, who can’t take the post himself because of a criminal conviction, may try to run the government himself from the sidelines.

The European Union’s second-poorest country is replacing its first technocratic cabinet since the fall of communism, which took power after the previous Social Democrat premier was swept aside by outrage at state corruption a year ago. The surprise nomination places Iohannis at odds with Dragnea in a country no stranger to political feuds between its leaders. One culminated in Traian Basescu suspension as president in 2012.

Dragnea’s Social Democrats command a majority in parliament with the junior coalition ALDE party. He indicated on Wednesday that the president would have a fight on his hands.

“If Iohannis rejects our proposal, I’m not going to make a second one,” Dragnea said last week. “We’ll see each other in some other place.”

Iohannis also has the option to nominate another premier, who must go through the same process. Two unsuccessful attempts to form a government will trigger early elections, according to Romania’s Constitution.

If she had been approved, Shhaideh would have become the first Muslim woman leader of an EU country’s government. Her nomination contrasted anti-Muslim sentiment among increasingly vocal populist political movements in other European countries that have seen support rise after the continent’s worst immigration crisis since World War II.

A member of a minority accounting for about 0.3 per cent of Romania’s 20 million people that have lived mainly in southeast Romania on the Black Sea coast for centuries, Shhaideh is married to Akram Shhaideh, a Syrian-born former Agriculture Ministry director for President Bashar Al Assad. Romanian media have criticised him for defending Al Assad on social media and playing down the conflict in the Middle Eastern country.

The PSD’s election triumph came barely a year since anger over a deadly nightclub fire that killed 64 people forced it and prime minister Victor Ponta from office.

Romania was then run by a caretaker government under technocrat prime minister Dacian Ciolos, 47, a former European commissioner.

The inferno inside the Colectiv club was blamed on corrupt officials turning a blind eye to a lack of fire precautions. Poor medical care exacerbated the death toll.

Brussels has long complained about corruption since Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007 and since the fire the country has been making progress tackling it.

However, a return to power by the PSD has raised concerns that progress in this area might slow.

source : gulfnews

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