A parliamentary delegation visited Council of State President Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou at her office on 22 January to officially announce that Parliament has elected her as the next President of the Hellenic Republic, with 261 votes in the 300-member legislature.

Sakellaropoulou is to assume office on 13 March and will be the first woman to hold the office of President of Greece.

A two-thirds majority (200 MPs) is required to elect the president in the first round.

The inter-party consensus aside from ruling New Democracy included main opposition SYRIZA and the centre-left Movement for Change and many expressed hopes that this political consensus may be maintained in major national issues such as confronting Turkish threats against Greece and working together on a comprehensive medium and long-range plan for economic recovery.

Parliament President Kostas Tasoulas presented Sakellaropoulou with the result of Parliament’s vote, underlining that her nomination was approved with a very large majority that greatly exceeded the two-thirds minimum required by the Constitution, indicating that she is beginning her tenure in a propitious manner.

Sakellaropoulou thanked Parliament for electing her and underlined that she is fully cognizant of the weighty responsibility she is undertaking.

Stress on territorial integrity, sovereignty

“Our country is a modern state governed by the rule of law and is a force of stability, growth, and culture. An essential prerequisite for it to continue in this manner is to ensure its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights,” Sakellaropoulou stressed.

Defending rights a top priority

“I look forward to a society that respects the rights described in the Constitution, the UN Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights,” she said.

The president-elect also noted crucial global problems such as the economic crisis, the climate change crisis, the displacement of populations, inequality, the protection of the weak, and growing challenges to the rule of law.

Sakellaropoulou called for a society that, supported by its long democratic tradition, will heal the hurts of the past and look to the future with optimism.

“For this future, I can assure you that I will give all my strength to fulfil my constitutional role,” she said.