Romania's election winner rules out conflict with president

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 3:07 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The leader of the party that won Romania's parliamentary elections said Thursday he won't provoke a fight with the country's president, a political rival who is refusing to make him prime minister.

President Klaus Iohannis has said he would not nominate Social Democratic Party Chairman Liviu Dragnea because Dragnea received a suspended 2-year prison sentence for voter fraud.

Striking a conciliatory note, Dragnea said: "I don't want to provoke a useless conflict."

Dragnea declined to reveal the Social Democrats' choice for premier, but said it plans to put forward someone Iohannis will accept. A 2001 law bars anyone who has a conviction from being a government minister, but there has been pressure within the party for Dragnea to be its nominee for premier and for Parliament to change the law.

Dragnea said the party would form a coalition government with a junior partner.

He reiterated promises to hike the salaries of doctors, nurses and teachers and to increase college aid for students.

"Everything we promised in the campaign will be respected to the last comma. "

The left-leaning Social Democrats won 221 seats in the 465-seat Parliament during the Dec. 11 elections.

The winning party typically presents its choice of prime minister to the president, who then makes a formal nomination to Parliament.