Greece Swears in 1st Female President

Greece Swears in 1st Female President

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's first female president, a former high court judge, was formally sworn in to office Friday, nearly two months after the country's parliament voted overwhelmingly to elect her.

The swearing-in ceremony for Katerina Sakellaropoulou took place in an almost empty parliament, as part of measures being taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Only a handful of lawmakers and a limited number of journalists were present.

Greece has shut down schools, universities, cinemas, theaters, 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.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis nominated Sakellaropoulou as a non-partisan candidate who would enjoy broad support from across the political spectrum. All major parties voted in favor, with Sakellaropoulou being elected to the largely ceremonial post in a 261-33 vote in January, well above the 200 votes required. Six lawmakers were absent.

Greece has a low number of women in senior positions in politics, and Mitsotakis had been criticized for selecting a nearly all-male Cabinet after he won general elections in July 2019. In the current Greek Cabinet, all but one of the 18 senior positions are held by men.

(KR)