Seeking to rise above partisanship and reach the widest consensus possible regarding the government’s pick for the country’s new president, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis nominated Katerina Sakellaropoulou, a top judge, for the post, in a televised address on state-run broadcaster ERT on Wednesday evening.
Sakellaropoulou is the head of the Council of State, the country’s top administrative court. If her candidacy is approved by Parliament, she will be the first female president in Greece’s history and will replace incumbent Prokopis Pavlopoulos, whose term expires in March.
"I think it’s time for our country to have a worthy Greek woman in the highest position of state,” Mitsotakis said in his public statement.
For her part, Sakellaropoulou described her nomination was an “honor for me and modern Greek women.”
Government sources have described Sakellaropoulou as a progressive candidate who has has played an important role in shaping legislation that is both environmentally and growth friendly.
The same sources said that Mitsotakis chose a woman to reflect his vision of a “new Greece,” a country where gender is not an obstacle for competent people.
By choosing Sakellaropoulou, Mitsotakis also confirmed his intention not to take advantage of the provision of the revised articles of the Constitution that enable the election of the president with just 151 votes.
Instead, in his quest for the widest possible consensus, he wants to secure at least 180 votes with the support of the center-left Movement for Change, given that Sakellaropoulou comes the center-left of the political spectrum.
Moreover, the choice of a progressive woman who is not from a political party puts the pressure on the leader of leftist SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras to back her, otherwise he will have to explain why he would refuse to do so.
Failing to provide his backing would prove even more difficult to explain given that it was Tsipras that appointed her as head of the CoS.
According to reports, if the country’s political parties react positively to her nomination, it is very likely that the election will be hastened and scheduled even as early as January 21, before Mitsotakis departs for Davos on Wednesday.