Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday afternoon announced that his ruling party will nominate veteran jurist and current Council of State (CoS) president Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou as Greece's new president of the republic, replacing Prokopis Pavlopoulos, whose first term ends in the spring.
With a majority of deputies in the 300-MP Parliament, Sakellaropoulou's election by the legislature as the first female president in Greece is more-or-less assured, although Mitsotakis and his New Democracy party conservatives expect a higher approval. The Council of State is Greece's highest administrative court.
The head of state in Greece is a ceremonial position, and following recent constitution revision, detached from the prospect of causing a snap election in case MPs fail to elect a president. The last time such an occurrence arose was in late 2014, when opposition parties did not vote for the nominee then proposed by another center-right government under Antonis Samaras. The ruling party at the time did not have the 180 deputies needed to approve of nominee Stavros Dimas.
A snap election the next month brought radical leftist SYRIZA to power for the next four and a half years, a period punctuated by a divisive referendum, the onslaught of a migrant/refugee crisis and a third consecutive memorandum bailout that ended in August 2018.
Mitsotakis, as a deputy in 2015, was practically alone among ND's Parliamentary group in not voting in favor of Pavlopoulos, a long-time ND deputy and minister from Messinia prefecture, who however, was nominated by the new SYRIZA government after it won the January 2015 election.
Five years later, as the prime minister, Mitsotakis snubs Pavlopoulos in favor of another person for the head of state position.