Greece to elect first female president | The Daily Star
11:43 AM, January 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:19 PM, January 22, 2020

Greece to elect first female president

Judge Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou taking charge with cross-party support

A trailblazing judge with particular expertise in environmental law and the constitution will become Greece's first female president on Wednesday.

The candidacy of Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has already won cross-party support and been welcomed by some commentators as a consensus candidate during a difficult time for Greek foreign policy.

"The time has come for Greece to open up to the future," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said earlier this month, as he submitted Sakellaropoulou's name for Wednesday's parliamentary vote.

A four-decade justice veteran, 63-year-old Sakellaropoulou has since 2018, headed Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, where she was again the first woman to occupy the post.

The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne University and is an expert in constitutional and environmental law.

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

Greek presidents are exclusively selected by parliament. Sakellaropoulou is on track to secure over 260 votes on Wednesday, more than enough for the minimum 200 votes required, thanks to support from the main opposition parties.

Main opposition leftist leader Alexis Tsipras said Sakellaropoulou was an "exceptional judge" and a defender of human rights. The socialist KINAL party has also backed her nomination.

Mitsotakis 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.

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