Left-of-center Social Democrats (PSD) prime ministerial nominee, Sevil Shheideh, has been rejected by President Klaus Iohannis

Sevil Shheideh, the prime ministerial nominee for recently elected Social Democrats (PSD), potentially Romania’s first female and Muslim prime minister, has been rejected by President Klaus Iohannis.

In a televised statement, the President said: “I have properly analyzed the arguments for and against and I have decided not to accept this proposal. I call on the PSD coalition to make another proposal.”

The leader of PSD, Liviu Dragnea, withdrew his own bid for prime ministerial position due to his two-year suspension regarding fraud in a previous election. Since Shheideh’s political experience is limited, previously she had served as a development minister for five months, and due to her closeness with Dragnea, accusations have been raised from the opposition regarding her legitimacy as a nominee. The opposition has said that Shheideh would merely be Dragnea’s puppet.

While Shheideh’s Muslim faith isn’t thought to be the problem, it has also been speculated that the background of Shheideh’s Syrian husband may have been a contributing factor for the decision. According to Rise Project, a non-profit investigative journalism group, Shheideh’s husband has expressed support for the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, and the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah several times.

Political analyst, Andrei Ţăranu has said that due to the absence of any explanations by the President, it can be assumed that the President’s rejection is concerning questions of national security and the USA’s unenthusiastic outlook on the situation. HotsNews website referred to anonymous sources regarding warning given by security services regarding Shheideh’s nomination due to her husband’s close link to the Assad regime.

In response to the President’s decision, Dragnea has said that his party is considering impeaching President Iohannis. However, Dragnea and the coalition party ALDE’s leader, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, won’t rush into the matter. They have said that they intend to assess whether the President’s actions were unconstitutional.

Andrei Ţăranu has commented and said that the wiser move for PSD would be to make a new proposal for a candidate, since the President has the constitutional right to request a second proposal for the prime minister candidate. If the situation persists, Ţăranu said that the elections will be held again.

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