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Presidential Veto on Leftist Party’s PM Candidate in Romania | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sevil Shhaideh is sworn in for the position of minister for regional administration and public administration, in Bucharest, Romania. (Reuters File Photo)

Bucharest- Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has blocked a proposal by the leftist party that won elections this month to appoint Sevil Shhaideh, the EU country’s first female and first Muslim prime minister, a move that could spark a political crisis.

After winning the December 11 elections, the Social Democrats (PSD) proposed Shhaideh, 52, for the premiership last week.

Iohannis gave no reasons for his rejection of Shhaideh, who has only five months ministerial experience. She is from Romania’s small and long-established Turkish minority.

The leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, had withdrawn his own bid to become prime minister because of a conviction that bars him from office.

Shhaideh’s personal closeness to Dragnea — he was a witness at her wedding — has led to accusations that he will remain in charge behind the scenes.

Her husband’s political relations have also drawn large controversy. He has worked in the Syrian agriculture ministry for 20 years before emigrating to Romania in 2011 and marrying Shhaideh the same year, according to the PSD.

Non-profit investigative journalism group the Rise Project said that he has several times expressed his support for the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Assad, and for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Website HotNews cited unnamed sources as saying that the security services had “strongly cautioned” against Shhaideh’s nomination because of the closeness of her husband and his two brothers to the Assad regime.