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Katerina Sakellaropoulou becomes Greece’s first woman president

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis nominated Katerina Sakellaropoulou as the country’s new president.

Sakellaropoulou, 63, was elected on Wednesday in a rare political consensus that made her the first woman president in Greece’s history.

She won the support of 261 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament.

While the president’s authority is limited by the constitution, the officeholder is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces and is often consulted on important affairs in an advisory capacity.

Sakellaropoulou, a former judge, was backed by the ruling New Democracy party, left-wing Radical Coalition of the Left (Syriza) party and the center-left Movement for Change alliance.

She will serve for the next five years starting on March 13, replacing current President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, when his term comes to an end.

The Thessaloniki-born Sakellaropoulou is a daughter of a Supreme Court judge. She studied law in Athens and completed her post-graduate studies at Sorbonne in Paris. She is known for her progressive attitude on the issues such as discrimination and climate change.

She was also the first woman to head the Council of State when she was appointed in 2018, when Syriza was ruling the country.

Sakellaropoulou has extensive experience in teaching, and has also served as an consultant at the Foreign Ministry, as well as an office bearer of the judges’ union.

Apart from her love to animals, Sakellaropoulou has sensitivity towards the environment and held the position of the president of the Hellenic Society for Environmental Law since 2015.

She has worked on cases of environmental concern, such as the diversion of Acheloos River in Thessaly and the preservation of the historic refugee buildings on Alexandras Avenue.

Sakellaropoulou was an active social media user till her nomination for the presidency.

She has written several books and articles over issues of constitutional law and environmental law. She is fluent in English and French languages.

Sakellaropoulou is divorced and mother of a daughter.

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