Within a day of nominating Council of State President Katerina Sakellaropoulou for the country’s next president, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared to have secured the broad consensus required to secure her appointment by Parliament next week.
Mitsotakis’ proposal secured the support of leftist SYRIZA and the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), bringing backing for Sakellaropoulou to 266 in the 300-seat House, comfortably above the minimum of 200 votes required for the motion for president to pass in the first vote. His initiative put SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in a tough position as it would have been difficult for the latter to oppose the candidacy of the woman that his own government appointed to the helm of the country’s highest administrative court.
Tsipras said SYRIZA would back Mitsotakis’ nomination as “an act of responsibility.” “We will allow the new president to be elected with a wide majority, as this is appropriate for anyone who takes on the heavy responsibility, under the Constitution, of expressing the unity of the people and our democracy,” Tsipras said.
However, he also accused Mitsotakis of making a “major mistake” by not renewing the term of incumbent Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
In an interview on Alpha TV, Mitsotakis expressed respect for Pavlopoulos, describing him as “a good president.” “But I could only choose one person,” Mitsotakis said. KINAL also backed the nomination, saying however that this did not denote broader support for Mitsotakis’ government.
Earlier Thursday the leader of the MeRA25 party, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, made waves by proposing Magda Fyssa, the mother of rapper Pavlos Fyssas who was slain by a supporter of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, for president.