PM Mitsotakis Proposes Top Female Judge for President of Greece


Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS - Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, the first woman to become president of the Council of State (CoS), is Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' candidate for President of the Greek Republic, as he announced at a televised address on Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis proposed Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, first female president of the Council of State, as president of the Hellenic Republic, in a televised address on Wednesday evening.

Sakellaropoulou, head of the country's highest administrative court, was not a member of the ruling New Democracy party, the premier said.

In his address, Mitsotakis said "the decision I had to make was by no means easy," as the person fulfilling the role has to incorporate the nation's unity, have a sense of duty, knowledge, prestige and international experience. Despite the fact the office of president is ceremonial, the choice had to reflect Greece's renewal, and be "a window opening to the future," the premier said.

Sakellaropoulou is noted for her "groundbreaking legislation for the right boundaries between protecting the environment and development, and she has served as president of the Hellenic Society for Environmental Law." She is also "known for her moderation, her sound judgment, and her interest in protecting individual rights, which is her specialty," he noted.

The judge "is a proposal of unity, above parties, progressive, and meets all conditions to be approved by the entire body of MPs," he added. He expressed the hope she would be supported by all parliamentary parties and that she would "inculcate the consensus that Greeks want very much."

Mitsotakis has informed the current president, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, of his decision and thanked him for his contribution. Pavlopoulos' term runs out in February.

The choice for the country's highest office "honors both justice and the modern Greek woman," Sakellaropoulou told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), thanking the prime minister for the candidacy. "I accept the proposal and, if elected, will devote all my efforts to serving this high duty, as set out by the constitution," the judge said, adding that she will abstain from active legal duties as of now.

Sakellaropoulou was born in Thessaloniki (1956) and completed her studies at the University of Athens Law School (1978), training during a leave of absence from her Council of State duties at the Sorbonne, Paris II (1989-1990). She was promoted to head of the Council of State in October 2018.

She has extensive experience in teaching, as educational and Foreign Ministry consultant, and as an officer of the judges' union. She has been president of the Hellenic Society for Environmental Law since 2015, and has actively worked on large cases involving the environment, such as the diversion of Acheloos River in Thessaly and the preservation of the historic refugee buildings on Alexandras Avenue.

Author of several books, she speaks English and French, is divorced and a mother of one, and lives in central Athens.