* Shhaideh likely to win president support for PM
* New government to face confidence vote in parliament next
* Leftist cabinet set to easily win parliament vote
(Adds quote, detail)
By Radu-Sorin Marinas and Luiza Ilie
BUCHAREST, Dec 21 Romania's Social Democrat
Party (PSD) proposed a leftist woman from the country's tiny
Muslim minority as prime minister on Wednesday, a close
associate of PSD power broker Liviu Dragnea who was ruled out of
the job after being convicted in a 2012 referendum rigging case.
Sevil Shhaideh, 52 who must be approved by President Klaus
Iohannis and then get a parliamentary vote of confidence, has
served under a previous leftist-led government as regional
The PSD won the Dec. 11 general election and, with its
junior coalition partner and long-time ally ALDE, has an
outright majority in parliament of 250 MPs in the 465-seat,
"I have come up with a solution that I hope will be accepted
so that a government is in place quickly to ensure we have a
budget plan approved by Jan. 15," Dragnea told reporters.
Dragnea made clear he intended to be the power behind the
"If appointed, she would be prime minister, but the
political responsibility stays with me first of all, Dragnea
said. She has work capacity, knowledge of public administration
and EU fund absorption and of all ministries' operations."
Dragnea and Shhaideh, who comes from Romania's tiny Muslim
community, are close. He was a witness at her 2011 wedding to a
Syrian-born former agriculture ministry consultant.
"Dragnea has nominated a loyal person, whose ... flaws stem
from a lack of notoriety and authority within the PSD, but that
hasn't got anything to do with anything. It will be a government
controlled by Dragnea," Sergiu Miscoiu, political science
professor at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj said.
Iohannis, the president, started two-day consultations on
forming a new government with parties present in the new
parliament formed after the election. He is expected to announce
a prime minister designate by Friday.
The PSD, which promised higher wages and pensions during the
election campaign, had hoped Dragnea, who keeps tight control of
his party, would stand for prime minister but Iohannis made
clear he would refuse any candidate with a criminal record.
Dragnea has kept his post as party chief despite being
convicted earlier this year for abusing his influence in a
referendum to impeach the country's former president Traian
Basescu, for which he received a suspended two-year jail
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)