Editorial: A victory for democracy
President-elect Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou symbolises the restoration of normalcy in the country as well as Greece’s passage to a new era with greater consensus and less toxicity.
It may sound like a cliché but in this case it is absolutely accurate.
This day is historic as Parliament is electing the first woman President of the Hellenic Republic in the first round of voting with a large majority.
This victory for democracy is a result of the nomination of the prime minister who made good on his pledge, ignored the pressures of the old system, transcended divisions, and tabled a progressive and bold proposal that could forge a broad parliamentary consensus.
It is also the result of the stance of the main opposition SYRIZA party and the centre-left Movement for Change. The two parties set aside partisan considerations and signed on to this institutional choice.
The greatest portion of the credit, however, belongs to the new president, Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, herself.
She was the first woman president of the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, and she meets all the qualifications for the nation’s highest office.
She is independent, ecologically sensitive, dedicated, and has demonstrated her respect for the rule of law.
In difficult circumstances she did not hesitate to defend reason even if she disagreed with the court’s majority opinion or clashed with the powers that be.
A prime example is her opposition to registering citizens’ religion on state-issued IDs.
Another is her reaction to the former government’s machinations in issuing new, nation-wide television broadcast licenses.
At the same time the new President of the Republic is an “everyday” person who enjoys traveling, loves animals, and enjoys the theatre and cinema.
In brief, she symbolises the restoration of normalcy in the country as well as Greece’s passage to a new era with greater consensus and less toxicity.