Greece’s first female president was formally sworn into office on Friday, nearly two months after the country’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to elect her.
In an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the swearing-in ceremony for Katerina Sakellaropoulou took place in an almost empty parliament. Only a handful of lawmakers and a limited number of journalists were present.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis nominated Sakellaropoulou as a non-partisan candidate, who benefits from a wide range of supporters across the political spectrum.
Although primarily a ceremonial post, Sakellaropoulou achieved a huge victory being voted in by a large margin. All major parties voted in favour, with Sakellaropoulou earning a 261-33 vote in January, well above the 200 votes required. Six lawmakers were absent.
Mitsotakis was previously criticised for selecting a cabinet with a higher ratio of men to women in the general elections in July 2019. Greece currently possess a low number of women in senior positions in politics with the current Greek Cabinet having only one of the 18 senior positions being held by a female.
Greece has shut down schools, universities, cinemas, theatres, gyms and nightclubs, and authorities have warned people to stay home and avoid large gatherings in an effort to contain the virus outbreak. The country so far has 117 confirmed cases and one death. The presidential swearing-in ceremony was being covered live on state television.