New Greek president sworn-in, sans the handshakes and well-wishing due to Covid-19 fears

Friday, 13 March 2020 13:17
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A new president of the republic in Greece was sworn-in on Friday, as Katerina Sakellaropoulou becomes the first female head of state in the east Mediterranean country. Sakellaropoulou will assume the wholly symbolic Greek presidency after serving as the president of the Council of State (CoS), the country's highest administrative court.

She will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos as head of state, after attaining a near unanimous vote in Greece's 300-MP Parliament.

The position of president of the republic in Greece is filled with a vote by Parliament deputies, rather than a popular vote by citizens.

Less than a fifth of Parliament MPs were present in the chamber in central Athens for her swearing-in ceremony, as fears of a coronavirus outbreak has closed schools, courts and gyms, among others, while practically all scheduled public indoors gatherings have been cancelled. A large portion of office staff were also working from home.

In a sign of the times, Sakellaropoulou avoided handshakes with all dignitaries on hand for the ceremony and during the entire protocol, something also followed by the prime minister, political party leaders, deputies and other officials.

The Thessaloniki native, who was also the first female CoS president, was sworn-in with a religious oath, administered by the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.


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