It’s only fair to say that women deserve to have equal rights, equal opportunities, equal pay, etc. We, as women, can hold high powered positions, as ministers of Parliament, as Prime Minister or President.
Linking this to a certain lady who could have been that person and might have had the opportunity to put herself in Romania’s history books. Not only as Romania’s first female Prime Minister, but also as the first Muslim Prime Minister: Sevil Shhaideh.
Sevil Shhaideh was born on the 4th of December 1964. At the age of 52, the Romanian economist, civil servant, and politician is set to make the history books at least for one thing: being the first Muslim sworn into Parliament with her hands upon the Quran. Shhaideh almost became the First female Muslim Prime Minister, following the steps of other women in world politics and leadership in the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria of England, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Sevil Shhaideh, born to mother Muesek Cambek who in her turn is the daughter of the famous Turkish historian Kamal Karpat. Shhaideh’s father, Saedine Cambek, is from Turkish descent. She is part of an ethnic group called the Crimean Tatars, a group that was made up of people from Turkish, Russian, and Ukrainian descent.
In the late 80s, Sevil Shhaideh graduated from the Academy of Economic Science in Bucharest. After that she worked for the Faculty of Economic Planning and Cybernetics, where she became public administrator of the Constanta Council, after a time, she was promoted to Head Director General for all the projects.
During the same short period she was also the coordinator of the National Union of the Romanian Council. In 2012, she began as Secretary of State in the Ministry of Regional Development. Although she was not well known, she carried on working for the department between May and November 2012, this time as Civil Minister of the Department of Political Administration and Public Administration. She was a member of the Party for the social democrats (PSP) led at the time by Victor Ponta, who was then the predecessor of Dragnea.
On the 21st of December 2016, she was the first preference for the parties PSP and the Alliance of Liberal Democrats (ALDE) as a candidate for Prime Minister.
President Klaus Iohannis had a decision to make with many matters to take into consideration. Pontas’ predecessor as Deputy Prime Minister, Dragnea, already had to resign from cabinet in May 2015. He was convicted in a case involving electoral fraud for which he got suspended for two years in April 2016. Dragnea came forward with Shhaideh as Prime Minister.
The role Sevil had to fill, having then been the first Muslim female member of Parliament and also the first female Prime Minister, was getting Romania out there for the countries that are changing the times and trying to keep up with the ever changing political sphere.
President Iohannis and the governors were busy looking into Shhaideh’s personal and financial background. It became apparent that because of her marriage to the Syrian businessman Akram Shhaideh. Speculations are that he is a supporter and has an affiliation with President Assad and his regime. Also, Klaus is claimed to have rejected her candidacy for Prime Minister due to her husband’s Syrian background and his contacts with Assad.
Will Shhaideh ever become Prime Minister? President Iohannis has been accused of playing partisan politics. Because of this, Romania is left with an important decision, whether or not to keep Klaus Iohannis as President and whether or not to accept change and put the first female Muslim Prime Minister in office.
This article is written by Khadija Taylor.