Greece swears in first female president but no handshakes amid coronavirus

By Reuters Time of article published Mar 13, 2020

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Athens - Greece's first female president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, was sworn in for a five-year term on Friday at a ceremony scaled down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sakellaropoulou, 64, an ex-president of the Council of State, Greece's top administrative court, will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Sakellaropoulou took a religious oath at a ceremony confined to a limited number of lawmakers and other officials as Greece has cancelled public gatherings and closed schools and theatres to stem the spread of the virus.

Handshakes were also excluded from the ceremony on Friday.

By late Thursday, Greece had one fatality and 117 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Newly elected Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou takes an oath during the swearing-in ceremony at the Greek Parliament in Athens. Picture: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

In an unusual demonstration of harmony in the fractious world of Greek politics, Sakellaropoulou, the conservative party nominee, had been backed by opposition parties, including the leftist Syriza which lost power in an election last July. 

Newly elected Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou signs protocol documents during the swearing-in ceremony at the Greek Parliament in Athens. Greece's first female president, a former high court judge, was formally sworn into office nearly two months after the country's parliament voted overwhelmingly to elect her. The swearing-in ceremony for Katerina Sakellaropoulou was being held Friday in an almost empty Parliament, as part of measures being taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Picture: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP


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