The main parties from the new Parliament went to the Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday, for a new round of consultations with President Klaus Iohannis, in order to establish the new Government.
PSD and ALDE delegation (photo) was the first, and Liviu Dragnea announced the proposal for the PM position: Sevil Shhaideh, former Minister of Development and Administration in the Victor Ponta Government. She was on the spotlight when she was sworn with her hand on the Quran, because she’s Muslim.
Until President Iohannis will decide on Dragnea’s proposal, the PSD leader stated that it seemed “a good proposal” to the President, and that “he is going to decide”, while the USR leader Nicusor Dan said that he “is reflecting” on the decision.
“I am relying on the presumption of good-faith of the President, which we expect him to exercise in the following days. (…) I don’t believe that President will act against people’s vote and against a clear majority, which is formed, and which could even be larger starting from today” Dragnea stated.
PNL and USR protested towards PSD proposal for the PM, stating that Liviu Dragnea actually wants to lead the Government through intermediaries, while UDMR, who signed a protocol for parliamentary cooperation with PSD and ALDE on Wednesday, agreed Dragnea’s proposal, the leader of the party labeling t as an interesting proposal.
On Thursday, the head of state will receive PMP and the national minorities at consultations.
Sevil Shhaideh, Social-Democrats’ nominee for Prime Minister
Sevil Shhaideh, former Regional Development and Public Administration Minister in 2015, is the PSD-ALDE coalition’s nominee for the Prime Minister’s office, as announced by PSD President Liviu Dragnea at the consultations with President Klaus Iohannis.
“As you know, PSD won the elections, I had the legitimate right to demand the Premier’s office, but at the same time I took into account the President’s statements and a law currently in force and I don’t want a mandate that would be [obtained] by forcing a law. These two things did not give me the possibility to demand this office. I came with a solution that I hope will be accepted, will be appointed by President Iohannis. Our proposal is Sevil Shhaideh,” Liviu Dragnea said at the end of the meeting with Klaus Iohannis.
Dragnea: I won’t make another PM nomination; if turned down, we’ll see each other elsewhere
Dragnea said he will not make another proposal for Prime Minister in case President Klaus Iohannis refuses Sevil Shhaideh’s nomination.
“I will not come up with another proposal. If it is turned down, we’ll see each other elsewhere. (…) I have said it right from the beginning that we shall have one single proposal. Full stop. We won’t come up with another one. If this proposal is turned down, although there is no constitutional reason or one related to fundamental rights to do so, we’ll understand that it is not desired for the ones who won the elections and hold the majority to form the government. Coming up with a second proposal is pointless,” Dragnea said after the consultations at the Cotroceni Palace.
He maintained he has no kinship to Sevil Shhaideh, adding that she has been a PSD member since July 2015.
The Social Democrats’ leader pointed out that “any government installed starts from the idea and hope that it has a full mandate.”
“I wanted someone I could fully trust, and I’m taking responsibility for the Government’s actions, not someone with a personal project. It won’t be a Government of stars. Ms. Shhaideh will be the Premier, and I will be politically responsible. Ms. Shhaideh’s capacity for work and good knowledge of European fund absorption recommend her. Sevil has very high authority, sometimes too high. If this proposal is turned down, then we will understand that there is no desire for those who won the elections to form the Government,” Dragnea said.
He also explained his former statements on how the PM nominee will look like.
“It started off with a question asked in jest in a talk-show. (…) I also replied with a joke. They asked me how the Prime Minister looks like, because I was being asked all kinds of questions, whether he/she is fair- or dark-haired, a short person or not, therefore how he/she looks like, and I said the PM is good-looking and Mrs Sevil Shhaideh is good-looking indeed,” Dragnea said.
Moreover, he underscored that he will never have an attitude of running or coordinating something from the shadows, and everything that he will do will be publicly assumed.
The PSD leader said that in case the Prime Minister is designated this week, next week the government will also be formed.
“We don’t plan on starting any conflict, but if our demarche, our attitude, the legitimacy given by the vote are not respected, then we’ll act consequently. However, I (…) start from the presumption of the President’s good faith, which we expect him to exercise in the next days. I will not trigger any war, but I have not run and will never run off the battlefield,” the PSD Chairman added.
Liviu Dragnea also said that the discussion with the head of state has been quite serious and normal.
“I told him we are interested in and we have already included this in our platform, maintaining the macro-economic stability, that Romania’s security elements are kept and strengthened. I reiterated our unchanged commitment of assigning 2 percent of GDP for Defence, as already provided in the budget. Moreover, I told the President that the government will be made, in case he accepts this proposal, of people who go there to work and are open to collaboration with all the Romanian state’s institutions within the limits of the Constitution and the legislation, provided that all institutions understand that they are the institutions of the Romanian state and must act institutionally and not against Romanians,” Dragnea added.
“I will be the one politically responsible, I couldn’t demand the office for me for the time being”
After Sevil Shhaideh was nominted for Prime Minister, PSD President Liviu Dragnea explained that he will bear the political responsibility for the way the country will be governed. At the same time, the Social Democrat leader suggested that the Sevil Shhaideh option is temporary and was chosen since he cannot take over as Premier “for the time being” because of an “unjust conviction” and of an “unconstitutional law.”
The PSD President pointed out that even if Sevil Shhaideh, the PSD-ALDE’s proposal, will be appointed Premier, he will bear the political responsibility. “I will be the one politically responsible. (…) It is a political responsibility I don’t intend to give up. (…) Do you think I have to be member of some commission in order to manage what is happening in Parliament and the Government?” Liviu Dragnea said.
The PSD President also pointed out he would have had the “legitimate right” to be PSD’s nomination for premier but, when taking the decision, he took into account the laws currently in force and President Klaus Iohannis’s statements about the integrity criteria that the future prime minister must observe. “I didn’t want the mandate that I could have started to come about by forcing an unfair conviction and a profoundly unconstitutional law that for the time being did not give me the possibility to demand this office for me,” Liviu Dragnea pointed out.
Dragnea, asked why he proposed an ethnic PM: The question is very serious
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea was asked on Wednesday why he proposed an ethnic person as PM, given that he mocked Dacian Ciolos in the campaign, for the surname “Julien”, the PSD campaign pointing out “the danger” that foreigners represent; he replied that the question is “very serious”.
“I have a question, too: I don’t know if those who watch the TV heard this question that I consider to be very serious. Do you consider that Sevil Shhaideh is not a Romanian citizen?” Dragnea replied to the journalist who put him the question.
“No, I don’t, but do you consider that Dacian Ciolos is not a Romanian citizen?” replied the journalist, also through a question.
“You answer to me to this question. Otherwise, it’s pointless to ask this question. Sevil Shhaideh is a Romanian citizen who has all the rights” Dragnea stated.
Political leaders react to Dragnea’s proposal for Prime Minister office
PNL’s Turcan: Sevil Shhaideh – proposal which reveals Liviu Dragnea’s obsession for control
Interim Chairperson of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Raluca Turcan stated on Wednesday that the Prime Minister proposal announced by Liviu Dragnea brings to mind the practices during the Adrian Nastase governance.
“It is a proposal which reveals the obsession for control that Liviu Dragnea has. It is a proposal which brings us back to the practices during Adriann Nastase’s mandate or when the Government was led by intermediaries. It is an unfavourable sign for the economic environment, for entrepreneurs, it is a signal that the part regarding the growth of taxes and fees, which, in fact, stood at the base of the PSD governance platform will unfortunately be implemented. I don’t believe that when people voted for the PSD, they cast their vote so that Liviu Dragnea’s goddaughter should be at the helm of the Government. (…) It would have been one thing to have a Prime Minister with a shaped up political profile, with a visible political action and an assumed national development view and another thing to receive a family movement of Liviu Dragnea,” Turcan stated, after the consultations at the Cotroceni Palace regarding Sevil Shhaideh being nominated for the Prime Minister office.
Turcan mentioned she only knows that Sevil Shhaideh was a minister in the period in which Liviu Dragnea “was running the Government through intermediaries.”
“I don’t personally know her, but I believe that the PSD had human resources that could have assumed a development vision of Romania and again, I think about the trust betrayed when PSD retracted its assumed governance platform, the trust betrayed when Liviu Dragnea stated he will have a Prime Minister who will know what needs to be done with Romania and we have received his personal choice,” she stated.
Raluca Turcan mentioned that she told President Iohannis that the PNL noted the parliamentary arithmetic and is prepared to assume, from the Opposition aisle, the monitoring of the PSD governance platform and to offer alternative solutions.
UDMR’s Kelemen on Sevil Shhaideh as PM proposal: It’s interesting; no elements to show she is not a capable person
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) proposal for the Prime Minister office – Sevil Shhaideh – is interesting, Chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor stated, underlining that the Union does not have elements that would show her not to be capable for this office.
“It is an interesting proposal. I cannot tell you more. Sevil Shhaideh led the Development Ministry or she was, anyway, a State Secretary and she knows very well the administration and we don’t have elements to show her not to be capable for this position. This is about all I can say at this point, because exactly when you heard the proposal we also heard it too,” Kelemen Hunor stated on Wednesday.
He revealed that from the Union’s point of view this proposal for the Prime Minister office is “ok.” “From this point of view (the proposal – e.n.) it’s ok because Sevil doesn’t have a background that would make us question her. There would have been a problem if a person with a political background less comfortable for us had come. But in respect to her there is nothing like that,” Kelemen Hunor added.
UDMR’s Korodi on PM nominee: Seasoned professional, all stops removed from inking protocol with PSD-ALDE
Leader of the Lower House parliamentary group of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Attila Korodi told Agerpres, upon learning the name of the Social Democrats’ nominee for PM, that this had all stops removed from the Union’s decision to sign a parliamentary cooperation protocol with PSD – ALDE.
About the specific nomination of Sevil Shhaideh for Premier, Attila Korodi, himself a former Minister of Environment, said that she is a well-trained professional but it is still to be seen whether she will also get strong political support.
“The proposed Prime Minister is a seasoned professional. In terms of political support, the next period will show if PSD-ALDE can provide her with solid support. (…) I have worked [with Sevil Shhaideh] and she performs great from the professional point of view, she has a great capacity for work and openness to dialogue. That’s what I perceived during my collaboration with her,” said Korodi.
Asked if the nomination of a woman for Prime Minister had taken him by surprise, the leader of UDMR’s Lower House parliamentary group said that it’s her work capacity that really matters.
“Somehow I am not surprised. Knowing already the person, I focused on our past cooperation and how it worked, and it worked seamlessly. I believe it doesn’t matter if the nominee is a woman, or a Tatar-Turkish ethnic, what really matters is her capability to work and this was OK,” said Attila Korodi.
Ponta: A very good proposal; no reason why Iohannis should refuse
Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Wednesday that Sevil Shhaideh, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) proposal for Prime Minister, is a very good one and one that President Klaus Iohannis cannot turn down.
“I have a very high opinion of Sevil, I have worked with her very well when she was secretary of state and then, as you know, when I proposed her for minister. She was a very good minister and I wish her success. I think she is a very balanced woman and, I reiterate, we did a good job together as long as I have worked with her, and I respect her very much. I think she is a very good proposal. I will gladly vote for her if she comes to Parliament,” Ponta said at the Deputies’ Chamber.
He added that the PSD Chairman, Liviu Dragnea, trusts Sevil Shhaideh same as he had trusted her when he proposed her for Development Minister.
“Let us have a government as soon as possible, have a government today if we can have it, because with each day that passes we are losing money for the people and we are losing important things,” he maintained.
Victor Ponta pointed out he didn’t know what proposal the PSD leader would make at Cotroceni and that he learned about it on TV.
Asked what Sevil Shhaideh’s nomination means for the PSD, the former PM said: “It is a sign of openness.”
“She is a woman, a Muslim, it is a sign of openness and normalcy and she is a very good professional. I don’t know what Mr Iohannis will do, whether he will accept or not. The proposal is one that cannot be turned down, I don’t know what reason Mr Iohannis could have to turn it down, as they didn’t have the chance to draw any case on her,” Ponta concluded.
PMP’s Basescu on PM nominee: We are an Opposition party, staying in the Opposition
Chairman of the People’s Movement Party (PMP) Senator Traian Basescu did not make detailed comments on the Social-Democrats’ nomination for Prime Minister – Sevil Shhaideh – mentioning only that PMP is and stays in the Opposition.
“I have no first reaction at all. We are in the Opposition, we stay in the Opposition. Whoever the nominee is, this doesn’t matter to us, we are in the Opposition, so we don’t vote to confirm the Government in Parliament anyway,” Traian Basescu said on Wednesday in Parliament, when asked about his opinion on the proposal and if PMP will support it in Parliament.
Basescu drily admitted that the position of Prime Minister is important and concerns everyone, adding that since he doesn’t know Sevil Shhaideh, he has no comment to make.
Basescu said that the PMP leadership will ponder this evening on whether to come up with a proposal for Premier at the consultations on Thursday with the head of the state.
Mufti Iusuf Muurat about Sevil Shhaideh: I wish her a lot of success, she should work for the Romanian people
Iusuf Muurat, the mufti of Romania, stated on Wednesday, after Liviu Dragnea nominated Sevil Shhaideh for Premier, that she wishes her a lot of success and “she should work for the Romanian people” in case she is appointed in office.
“I wish her a lot of success and she should work for the Romanian people,” mufti Iusuf Muurat told the News.ro correspondent on Wednesday.
At the same time, mufti Iusuf Muurat pointed out he does not want to comment on the nomination from a political standpoint because he does not engage in politics.
USR’s Dan: Most important announcement Dragnea makes is that he isn’t Prime Minister yet
The most important announcement made on Wednesday by Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea, was that he isn’t the Prime Minister yet, Chairman of the Save Romania Union (USR) Nicusor Dan stated.
“The most important announcement that Liviu Dragnea made today was that he isn’t, yet, the Prime Minister and that the PSD wants to make amendments to the law so that he can become Prime Minister, which is a thing that we already got used to. (…) The sole criterion that Liviu Dragnea used was the loyalty towards himself and the fear that, somehow, by giving this power to an important member of the party that person would take over his seat,” Nicusor Dan stated at the Parliament Palace.
According to him, Sevil Shhaideh doesn’t have the necessary breadth to take over the Prime Minister’s office.
“Sevil Shhaideh doesn’t have the breadth of a Prime Minister. I personally know her from the time I worked in the Development Ministry, she came as a State Secretary, together with a lot of people from the Mazare – Nicusor Constantinescu group. She was one of the people who backed, at that time, the amendment of the Urban Planning Law, which allowed, again, real estate speculators to construct high-rise buildings among houses, to construct on green spaces and so on. I believe this is the PSD style, this appointment sums-up the manner in which PSD will govern in the next 4 years. They will not observe the law, they will make amendments to their own interest and they will act in a dictatorial manner – a man will impose the PSD style,” the USR deputy claimed.
He mentioned that the USR delegation will convey this point of view to the Romanian President.
Ghinea: Dragnea’s proposal for PM is actually his puppet
The Save Romania Union (USR) will not confirm in Parliament Liviu Dragnea’s nominee for PM, “which is a poor and inefficient choice,” said USR deputy and former Minister of European Funds Cristian Ghinea.
“A disappointing proposal. A puppet Dragnea left behind at the Ministry of Development where he was actually the one who was pulling the levers including this year, and we sensed this inside the government. If she lands this position, Shhaideh will lead a dysfunctional government because we cannot have two power structures: a government and a party that monitors the government. So practically Liviu Dragnea is placing a puppet here to smoothen his way to taking over as PM,” Ghinea said at the Palace of Parliament.
Asked what exactly the issue was with Mrs. Shhaideh, Ghinea said that “word came out that Mr. Dragnea had left his cronies at the Ministry of Development and that they were blocking various initiatives.” “I cannot precisely put my finger on anything specifically, but when you feel that something bothers you, you look around to see who put grit in the engine, so to speak, and it was this lady,” he argued.
Sevil Shhaideh -Bio
Sevil Shhaideh was born on December 4, 1964. She graduated from the Economic Planning and Cybernetics Faculty of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies in 1987, and earned a Business Projects Management Master’s degree from the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the ”Ovidius” University (2007).
She attended several advanced training courses: public administration expert (USAID, Washington DC, U.S., 1995) and NGO management (USAID, Washington DC, U.S. 2001), project manager (Oracle University, 2002 and PM Solutions Romania, 2004), auditor (TUV Institution, 2003).
She started her professional career as a programmer analyst at the Constanta-based Trust for Agricultural Mechanization (1987-1991), she then switched to Information Systems Manager with the Constanta County Labour and Social Protection Directorate (1991-1993), and then to Information Systems Director with the Constanta County Council (1993-2007).
She served as a coordinator responsible for working out the legislative amendments to the normative acts that regulate the public local administration with Romania’s County Councils National Union (UNCJR), and Director General – Projects Directorate General, Constanta County Council (2007 – 2012).
President of the National Association of Public Administration IT Experts (ANIAP) since 2000.
Shhaideh served as Secretary of State with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration between May 2012 – May 2015, and following Liviu Dragnea’s resignation, she succeeded him as Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration in the fourth Victor Ponta Cabinet. She filled this position between May 20, 2015 – November 4, 2016.
According to her latest wealth statement, filed on 8 July 2015, Sevil Shhaideh owns a 47-square metre apartment bought in 1994 and a total of RON 500,000 in several bank accounts opened in 2007 and 2011.
Her wealth statement also mentions a EUR 20,000 loan that her husband, Akram Shhaideh, offered to Bachir Chhide, loan that was repaid in September 2014.
Her liabilities include a RON 60,000 loan contracted in 2012 and set to mature in 2017.
Moreover, she owns, jointly with her husband, three homes in Syria – one in Latakia and two in Damascus.
Sevil Shhaideh’s income surpassed RON 300,000 in the previous fiscal year, of which RON 56,364 represented her Development Ministry salary and RON 247,800 her salary as member of EximBank’s Interministerial Committee for Financing, Guarantees and Insurances).
Sevil Shhaideh’s husband had an annual income of RON 46,149 as employee of the Constanta County Roads and Bridges Autonomous Administration and RON 826 as advisor within the Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Likewise, according to her statement of interests, she is a shareholder of Coremar – free coupon, and of SC Rosyr International SRL (50 shares worth RON 100).
Sevil Shhaideh married in 2011 and the press wrote that Liviu Dragnea and Constanta County Chairman Nicusor Constantinescu were the godfathers.
Liviu Dragnea dismissed the allegation on Wednesday, pointing out that the term “godfather” does not exist in Islam and that he was a “witness” at her marriage, alongside other persons. He added he and Sevil Shhaideh have been acquaintances for the past 15 years.
Sevil Shhaideh is an ethnic Turk and is on her second marriage. After her first marriage with a physician from Constanta, she married a Syrian engineer who worked for the Constanta County Roads and Bridges Autonomous Administration. Nicusor Constantinescu and Liviu Dragnea were her “godfathers.”