Ro­ma­nia gets new premier, end­ing po­lit­i­cal tur­moil

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Ro­ma­nia’s pres­i­dent yes­ter­day named so­cialdemo­crat Sorin Grindeanu as the na­tion’s new prime min­is­ter, bring­ing to a close weeks of un­cer­tainty since the left won a par­lia­men­tary vote on De­cem­ber 11.

The cen­tre-right pres­i­dent Klaus Io­han­nis signed the of­fi­cial de­cree nam­ing Grindeanu, a 43-year-old former com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter, as the new premier.

Grindeanu now faces a con­fi­dence vote in par­lia­ment on his pro­gramme and cab­i­net nom­i­nees. The vote must take place within the next 10 days.

The nom­i­na­tion sought to put an end to a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis sparked when Io­han­nis re­jected a pre­vi­ous can­di­date who would have been the coun­try’s first fe­male and first Mus­lim prime min­is­ter.

The pres­i­dent of­fered no rea­sons for his re­jec­tion of Sevil Sh­haideh, ini­tially put for­ward by the So­cial Democrats (PSD), but there was spec­u­la­tion that it was due to her Syrian hus­band’s back­ground.

Sources close to the pres­i­dent had in­di­cated on Thurs­day that Grindeanu was con­sid­ered a “bet­ter so­lu­tion.” “Io­han­nis is hop­ing for a smoother, less con­flict­ual co­ex­is­tence than he had with former prime min­is­ter Vic­tor Ponta,” who was forced to re­sign in Novem­ber 2015 af­ter street protests erupted over a deadly night­club fire.

Grindeanu is seen in Ro­ma­nia as a “dis­ci­plined soldier” within the PSD ranks and said him­self in a re­cent in­ter­view that he had joined the party very young as an out­let for his left­ist con­vic­tions.

Af­ter his nom­i­na­tion Wed­nes­day by PSD leader Liviu Drag­nea, Grindeanu said he would obey the party chief.

“Mr Drag­nea is the pres­i­dent of the PSD, it’s very sim­ple,” he said. Drag­nea had with­drawn his own bid to be­come prime min­is­ter be­cause of a con­vic­tion that bars him from of­fice.

Sec­ond nom­i­na­tion

Drag­nea how­ever made no se­cret of the fact he was look­ing for a can­di­date close to him.

“I wanted a man I could trust, a man who wouldn’t use his gov­ern­ment po­si­tion as a spring­board,” he said.

He also said he would not aban­don his own am­bi­tions of power, brand­ing as “un­just” the laws bar­ring him from of­fice over charges of elec­toral fraud.

Be­fore Grindeanu, the PSD had pro­posed the pre­vi­ously lit­tle-known Sh­haideh af­ter its thump­ing poll vic­tory on De­cem­ber 11 when it won 45 per­cent of the vote, enough to form a ma­jor­ity coali­tion with its part­ners ALDE.

Sh­haideh, 52, who has only five months min­is­te­rial ex­pe­ri­ence, is from Ro­ma­nia’s small and long-es­tab­lished Turk­ish mi­nor­ity, but her Mus­lim faith is not thought to have been the problem.

In­stead the fo­cus was likely on her hus­band, 54, who 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.

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 Pres­i­dent Bashar alAs­sad’s regime.

This might have made giv­ing Sh­haideh the nec­es­sary se­cu­rity clear­ances to be the NATO mem­ber’s prime min­is­ter prob­lem­atic.

On Tues­day af­ter Sh­haideh’s re­jec­tion, Drag­nea said the PSD was considering its op­tions in­clud­ing mov­ing to sus­pend Io­han­nis or go­ing to the con­sti­tu­tional court.

How­ever, any at­tempt by the PSD to re­move the head of state would have been prob­lem­atic be­cause Io­han­nis was en­ti­tled to re­quest a sec­ond pro­posal for premier.

The PSD even­tu­ally agreed to make a new pro­posal, stat­ing that it would be their “fi­nal” ef­fort to avoid “po­lit­i­cal war”.

The PSD’s elec­tion tri­umph came barely a year since anger over the night­club fire that killed 64 peo­ple forced it from of­fice.

The in­ferno was blamed on cor­rup­tion-some­thing Brus­sels has long com­plained about since Ro­ma­nia joined the EU in 2007. — AFP

BUCHAREST: Pic­ture taken on De­cem­ber 28, 2016 shows Ro­ma­nian so­cial-demo­crat Sorin Grindeanu dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Bucharest. Ro­ma­nia’s cen­tre-right pres­i­dent Klaus Io­han­nis yes­ter­day named Sorin Grindeanu as the na­tion’s new prime min­is­ter. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.