Premier Victor Ponta’s interimship as health minister came to an end yesterday, after President Traian Basescu signed the decree appointing Health Undersecretary Raed Arafat to the position of Minister for Health, according to the Presidential Administration press release. Vasile Astarastoae, president of the Romanian College of Physicians (CMR), holds that Dr. Raed Arafat’s appointment to Minister for Health is a wise thing, given his good knowledge of the system’s problems. “This was normal to happen, as PM Victor Ponta’s caretaker period was close to expiring, and there was no use delaying the appointment of the new minister, who already had the right to sign <documents>”, realitatea.net quoted Astarastoae as saying. He also said that Arafat has a very good relationship with his predecessor, Dr. Vasile Cepoi, “one of the best professionals that we have in Romania”. “He <Arafat> has a normal relationship with both the patient organizations and the Romanian College of Physicians, where he is head of the Emergency Medicine Commission. His appointment provides continuity and predictability,” the CMR president also said.Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Vice-president Sulfina Barbu, welcomed Raed Arafat’s appointment as Health minister. “At long last, there is a reliable health minister (…). I ascertain that the USL does not take responsibility in this field and I don’t believe that Premier Victor Ponta has any explanation for having baselessly extended his interimship by 45 days. He obviously sought an expert in the four USL member parties and had not found one both trustworthy and with a good knowledge of the field, or maybe he could not find a man to meet the integrity and professionalism criteria to no longer have Mang, Mircea Diaconu or Corina Dumitrescu-like cases,”, Mediafax quoted Barbu as saying.In early October, Victor Ponta was appointed interim health minister, by decree signed by Romania’s president, after Vasile Cepoi, the minister at the time, stepped down having been accused by the National Integrity Agency (ANI) of conflict of interests. The PM said at the time that he had made Arafat the proposition to become health minister, yet he wouldn’t. On Oct 26, Ponta told Romania TV by phone that when his 45 day caretaker period expires, he would appoint another government member to that position, adding that the Ministry was actually run by State undersecretary Raed Arafat, who got the post in August 2007, during the term of the Tariceanu government.