The Social Democratic Party won Romania’s elections on December 11. The party has put forward a Muslim, Sevil Shhaida, for Prime Minister. In the Romanian system, the President must nominate the Prime Minister, and (according to Nuova Europa) President Klaus Iohannis is refusing to do that.

While President Iohannis has not commented on his reasons, it is worth remembering that the territories now occupied by Romania were either under Muslim control or in a struggle to free themselves from Muslim dominance until the time of the American Civil War. The same is true of Hungary. Some Balkan states broke free of Muslim control even later.

In Romania, Dracula is remembered as a national hero, and his claim to fame is that he fought Muslims. Romanians and other Eastern Europeans have a relatively recent memory of what life was like under Muslim domination. Most of them do not want to return to that way of life. They hate and fear Muslim control. Certainly this sensibility is one element in President Iohannis’s decision.