2016-12-27 18:47:00

Romania's President refuses to nominate Muslim Prime Minister

(Vatican Radio) Romania plunged into political turmoil Tuesday as the president refused to nominate as prime minister an economist who could have become the country's first female Muslim premier. 

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:

President Klaus Iohannis made clear that he used the Christmas holiday to decide whether to nominate the 52-year-old Muslim Sevil Shhaideh to the post of prime minister. 

On Tuesday he urged the Social Democratic Party, the winners of the December 11 elections, to nominate someone else as government leader. "I carefully examined the pros and cons and I have decided not to accept this nomination," he told reporters.
"Consequently I request the PSD-ALDE coalition to put forward another name."

He did not say why he would not name Shhaideh as the country's first female Muslim prime minister of this mainly Eastern Orthodox Christian nation of some 22 million people. 


However she had been criticized for lacking sufficient political experience. Shhadeih briefly served as regional development minister last year. 

Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea is unable to become prime minister because he was convicted this year of election fraud.

The opposition had accused him of trying to run the country from the sidelines by installing Shhaideh as his puppet.

Tuesday's tensions comes amid public pressure on politicians to end corruption and social difficulties in what is one of the poorest European Union nations. 

Many people still struggle with the daily burden of transition in Romania, where ousted authoritarian leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were executed in 1989, on Christmas Day. 

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