Athens, Mar 13 (EFE).- Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou was sworn in as president on Friday becoming the first woman to become Greece’s head of state.
Upon her arrival to Parliament, Sakellaropoulou, a 63-year-old senior judge, was received by the Prime Minister, conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Speaker Konstantinos Tasulas.
She took her oath in parliament in a ceremony led by the Archbishop of Athens.
Sakellaropoulou then laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Greece’s most important military monument, and then went to the presidential mansion for a handover ceremony with outgoing president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
This historic occasion in the Greek parliament, where women are largely underrepresented, was overshadowed by measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which has infected 117 people in the country.
Although usually the ceremony would have been attended by around 1,000 people, a reduced group of 150 were invited, including ministers, party leaders and parliamentary groups.
The presence of religious leaders and reporters was also curbed.
Guests sat keeping a distance of one meter between each other as a precaution.
Greece has cracked down on the novel coronavirus by shutting down all schools, cinemas, theatres, gyms, nightclubs and reducing court activity.
The new president has cancelled another ceremony planned for Saturday in which she would have received the country’s top authority figures.
Sakellaropoulou was elected by parliament in January by 261 out of 300 lawmakers.
Before becoming president she headed Greece’s top administrative court, the Council of State. and became the first woman to lead the body.
The new president will replace conservative Pavlópulos, and although she is well known for being progressive, she stands out for being a figure of cohesion between opposing political forces.
Her mandate could also mean a push for gender equality in Greece, an issue the country is behind on compared to other European member states.
According to data from the European Institute for Gender Equality, only 18 percent of seats in the Greek Parliament are held by female lawmakers.
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