Sevil Shhaideh set to become the first female and muslim PM of Romania

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Little-known former regional development minister Sevil Shhaideh has been proposed as Romania’s first woman prime minister, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) says.

If, as expected, her appointment is approved by President Klaus Iohannis and by parliament, the 52-year-old will also become the first Muslim to head the Romanian government. Around 0.3 per cent of the population in Romania is Muslim.

The Social Democrats won parliamentary elections on December 11 but narrowly missed an outright majority, meaning they will form a coalition with allies such as the small liberal party ALDE.

PSD leader Liviu Dragnea was unable to become prime minister because of a conviction in connection with election manipulation. Under Romanian law, a convicted person is barred from high government positions.

However, he has said that the political responsibility for governing remains in his hands, leading observers to speculate that he will seek to amend the law and open the door for himself to take over.

Dragnea said he expects a new cabinet to be in place quickly.

All parties prior to the election had supported the independent Dacian Ciolos, who has been the sitting prime minister for the past year.