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UPDATE 1 - Romania's president refuses to endorse two ministers in govt reshuffle

UPDATE 1 - Romania's president refuses to endorse two ministers in govt reshuffle Romania's president Klaus Iohannis

BUCHAREST (Romania), November 20 (SeeNews) - Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday that he will not endorse the nominations of two out of a total of eight new cabinet ministers proposed by the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) in a large-scale government reshuffle.

"I received a proposal to reshuffle the government. This reshuffle, in my opinion, is a poor solution," Iohannis said during a news conference.

"I still believe that the right solution for Romania would have been, and is still, to replace this government, which has created a lot of problems for Romania."

Without giving any reasons, Iohannis said that he is refusing to endorse the appointment of labour minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu as new minister of transport and of former business and entrepreneurship minister Ilan Laufer as minister of development.

Vasilescu was supposed to replace Marius Budai at the labour ministry, while Laufer was supposed to replace Paul Stanescu at the development ministry.

The rest of the nominations were approved by the president.

PSD senator Niculae Badalau will be the new economy minister, replacing Danut Andrusca, while senator Daniel Breaz will take over the culture ministry from George Ivascu. Alexandru Petrescu will become Romania's new communications minister.

Bogdan Matei will replace Ioana Bran as youth and sports minister, while Gabriel Les will replace defence minister Mihai Fifor.

On Monday evening, PSD's decision-making body agreed to replace eight cabinet ministers over their weak performance.

"We did these changes because there is always room for improvements, because we have new challenges to face both in the government and in our EU presidency mandate which we will begin on January 1, 2019," prime minister Viorica Dancila said.

On Monday, Mihai Fifor announced his resignation, saying he would like to focus on work within the PSD. Fifor's statement was made shortly before a meeting of the PSD executive committee.

Fifor is the second minister to resign over a week. On November 12, EU affairs minister Victor Negrescu resigned without giving a reason. Two days later, president Iohannis endorsed the appointment of George Ciamba as new European affairs minister.