Europe

Romania delays nomination of first female Muslim leader

  • In this photo taken May 20, 2015, Sevil Shhaideh, 52, stands at the Romanian presidency before being sworn in as regional development minister in Bucharest, Romania. Liviu Dragnea, chairman of Romania's Social Democratic party, which won the parliamentary election, proposed Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 that Sevil Shhaideh take the post of prime minister.(AP Photo/Octav Ganea)

    In this photo taken May 20, 2015, Sevil Shhaideh, 52, stands at the Romanian presidency before being sworn in as regional development minister in Bucharest, Romania. Liviu Dragnea, chairman of Romania's Social Democratic party, which won the parliamentary election, proposed Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 that Sevil Shhaideh take the post of prime minister.(AP Photo/Octav Ganea)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken May 20, 2015, Sevil Shhaideh, 52, stands at the Romanian presidency before being sworn in as regional development minister in Bucharest, Romania. Liviu Dragnea, chairman of Romania's Social Democratic party which won the parliamentary election, proposed Wednesday that Sevil Shhaideh take the post of prime minister. (AP Photo/Octav Ganea)

    In this photo taken May 20, 2015, Sevil Shhaideh, 52, stands at the Romanian presidency before being sworn in as regional development minister in Bucharest, Romania. Liviu Dragnea, chairman of Romania's Social Democratic party which won the parliamentary election, proposed Wednesday that Sevil Shhaideh take the post of prime minister. (AP Photo/Octav Ganea)  (The Associated Press)

Romania's president says he needs more time to nominate a new prime minister, delaying the formal confirmation in office of the country's first female Muslim premier.

The Social Democrats, winners of the Dec. 11 elections, on Wednesday proposed economist Sevil Shhaideh.

President Klaus Iohannis had been expected to give official support to that nomination Thursday. Lawmakers then must approve the nomination.

But Iohannis announced he will delay any announcement until after Christmas. He did not explain why.

The 52-year-old Shhaideh served as Romania's regional development minister last year. Critics of her surprise nomination argue that Shhaideh lacks sufficient political experience and would become the effective mouthpiece of Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea.

The Social Democrats lead Romania's new coalition government alongside the smaller Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.