Katerina Sakellaropoulou: Greece appoints first woman president

Jon Stone
Katerina Sakellaropoulo, the new Greek president, will serve a five year term: EPA

Greece has appointed a new president, installing a woman in the role for the first time in the country's history.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, a high court judge, was chosen in a vote of the country's parliament by an overwhelming majority on Wednesday.

The appointment to the largely ceremonial role passed by 261 votes to 33 vote, clearing the 200-vote supermajority required to appoint the role.

Ms Sakellaropoulou said she would aim for the "broadest possible consensus" while serving in the role, having been backed by all major parties.

She said the country faced "difficult conditions and challenges of the 21st century, including the financial crisis, climate change, the mass movement of populations and the consequent humanitarian crisis, the erosion of the rule of law and all manner of inequalities and exclusions".

She is seen as a non-partisan candidate for the role and is not an active member of any political party.

Greece has a poor record of women's representation in politics and ranks among the least gender-balanced in the EU.

The country's prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had been criticised for selecting a nearly all-male Cabinet following his election win last year. All but one of the 18 senior positions in the Cabinet are held by men.

Mr Mitsotakis described Ms Sakellaropoulou, 63, as a "great jurist, a great judiciary personality who unites all Greeks from the minute this procedure began".

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the appointment and said the country was "moving ahead into a new era of equality".

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