Tom Ellis TOM ELLIS

The face of a forward-looking Greece

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

The new Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, will do her best to help a society with a long democratic tradition to heal the wounds of the past. She also highlighted the importance of the rule of law, and noted her dedication to working with the Parliament, the government and the opposition to achieve the highest possible consensus.

A divided country, crippled by long-standing structural and institutional deficiencies but also by the decade-long economic crisis, has heard the right messages from its new president, of unity, resoluteness and equity. These statements came to complement an atmosphere of consensus built around her by the fervent support for her candidacy by the country’s three largest parties, covering a broad ideological spectrum and garnering 261 votes.

The fact that such a wide majority was achieved came as no surprise, as a year and a half before Kyriakos Mitsotakis nominated her for president of the Republic, the then PM, Alexis Tsipras, had selected her to head the Council of State.

Sakellaropoulou also spoke of the burden she is assuming, within the confines of her constitutional role, while at the same time sending a message to the international community that, in its difficult neighborhood, Greece remains a pillar of stability and security, and highlighting the priority of safeguarding Greece’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights.

The sensitivities of the first female president of the country’s highest administrative court became widely known to an audience that was not aware of her work. Her interest in the environment at a scientific level (as a judge, she had in recent years voted in favor of most environmental organizations and bodies) confirms her contemporary spirit and justifies the optimism that she is the right person to represent a country that is aware of the major problems of our times and shares the same sensitivities with the rest of the modern world.

Even with the more conventional comments she made, on the need to improve education and healthcare, the use of new technologies, the creation of a climate of safety and trust, the protection of the vulnerable, the new president emanated a freshness in her approach. Perhaps the fact that it wasn’t a politician that was speaking made them sound more sincere, especially in a society that has so often been betrayed by its politicians, who are responsible for the country’s bankruptcy.

During Sakellaropoulou’s tenure as a judge, her efforts to protect the public interest have been clearly evident, as well as her willingness and ability to work through different views, to unite people, and achieve delicate balances, a virtue that will prove extremely useful in her new role.

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