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Muslim Named Romania’s Deputy Premier

Muslim Named Romania’s Deputy Premier

BUCHAREST — Sevil Shhaideh, a Romanian economist, was chosen on Tuesday, January 3, as the country’s first Muslim deputy prime minister and regional development minster.

The decision was announced on Tuesday by Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social Democratic Party which won the Dec. 11 election.

The PSD won the Dec. 11 general election by a wide margin and, with its junior coalition partner and long-time ally ALDE, has an outright majority in parliament of 250 members in the 465-seat, two-house assembly and will easily be able to get parliamentary approval for its government.

Shhaideh was the the Social Democratic Party’s first choice for premier. However, the proposal was rejected last Tuesday by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis.

Shhaideh is from Romania’s small and long-established Turkish minority, but her Muslim faith is not thought to have been a problem for Iohannis.

Instead, the focus and concern might have been on her Syrian husband, whom she married in 2011.

According to non-profit investigative journalism group the Rise Project, he has several times expressed his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and for Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.

The parliament is expected to approve the 26-member coalition government Wednesday. It has four more ministries than the previous technocrat-led government.

Prime Minister-elect Sorin Grindeanu said: “We have a program to govern … it urges us to show responsibility, modesty and respect for Romanians.”



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