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Image / Editorial

Greece has made history by electing its first female president

by Edaein OConnell
22nd Jan 2020

Greece has made history by electing judge Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou as its first female president 

Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected as Greece’s first female president.

A cross-party majority of 261 MPs (out of a total of 300) voted in favour of the new president, who until now was head of the Council of State which is Greece’s top administrative court. She was the first woman to be elected to that post also.

Ms Sakellaropoulou has written numerous papers in the past on environmental protection and chairs an environmental law society. She is a daughter of a Supreme Court judge and completed her postgraduate studies in Paris’s prestigious Sorbonne University.

The post of Greek president is elected solely by parliament and the overwhelming consensus is a rare sign of unity from the fractious political circle of Greece with the main opposition parties providing their support.

Opening up to the future

Alexis Tsipras, the main opposition leftist leader said Ms Sakellaropoulou was an “exceptional judge” and a defender of human rights.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said earlier this month that “the time has come for Greece to open up to the future”.

Not only is Ms Sakellaropoulou the first female president, she is also breaking the mould by not belonging to a political party.

The role of president is predominantly ceremonial with functions such as confirming governments and laws. However, the president does have the power to declare war once it is in agreement with the government.

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

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