World News

Greece elects first woman president

ATHENS: Greece's parliament on Wednesday (Jan 22) elected the first woman president in the country's history, a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.

A cross-party majority of 261 of the 294 MPs voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.

Advertisement

Advertisement

"Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic," Tassoulas said.

The new president, until now the head of Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, will take her oath of office on March 13, he added.

She will take over from Prokopis Pavlopoulos, whose five-year term ends in March.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who personally nominated Sakellaropoulou, called her an "outstanding" judge whose candidacy "unites all Greeks."

Advertisement

Advertisement

The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne university.

She was also the first woman to head the Council of State.

Although the president is nominally the head of the Greek state and commander-in-chief, the post is largely ceremonial.

Greek presidents confirm governments and laws and technically have the power to declare war, but only in conjunction with the government.

Backed by the main opposition leftist Syriza and socialist KINAL parties, Sakellaropoulou's candidacy secured one of the highest vote counts in parliament history.

Mitsotakis had emphasised that the selection breaks with tradition not only because Sakellaropoulou is female, but also because she is not a member of a political party.

Past presidents have often been senior party figures, such as former ministers.

Sakellaropoulou's nomination was welcomed by some commentators as a consensus candidate during a difficult time for Greek foreign policy, amid ongoing tension with Turkey over energy exploration, Aegean territorial rights Read More – Source