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Wide Consensus Foreseen as Opposition Parties Support First Female Greek President

The entrance of the Presidential Mansion in Athens. File photo

It was announced on Thursday that the first Parliamentary vote to elect the next Greek President will take place on Wednesday, January 22.
According to the recently-amended Greek Constitution, the first vote requires a 2/3 majority for a candidate to be elected to the country’s highest position.
This means that if Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, the government’s nominee for this high position, manages to garner more than 200 positive votes out of a total of 300 MPs, she will be elected that very day.
If the required number of votes is not obtained, the vote will be repeated after five calendar days, on Monday, January 27, where the same majority of 200 positive votes is required.
In the case of a third vote, which will have to take place on Saturday, February 1, a three-fifths majority of 180 votes will then be required.
If no majority is obtained at that point, a fourth attempt on February 6 will again be made, and only 151 positive votes will be required for Sakellaropoulou to be elected.
If this fails as well, the new President of the Hellenic Republic will be elected in a fifth vote on February 11 by just a relative majority of the present MPs.
Of course, these are just theoretical scenarios, since Sakellaropoulou is expected not only to be elected in the first vote, but it is also believed that she may earn one of the largest majorities ever to be recorded in the Greek Parliament.
On Thursday afternoon, opposition leader and ex-Premier Alexis Tsipras announced that his party will vote in favor of Sakellaropoulou.
Tsipras noted that Prime Minister Mitsotakis had the choice of renewing the term of current President Prokopios Pavlopoulos, who he termed ”a successful President.”
However, the Opposition leader said in his typical manner that ”as a leader of the opposition, I will not become a Mitsotakis,” referring to New Democracy’s practice of not supporting major decisions of the SYRIZA administration in previous years.
Thus, he stated, ”we will give the chance to the new President to be elected with a wide majority, because this is what suits whoever takes on the heavy responsibility of being the agent of our people’s and our Democracy’s unity.”
The only parliamentary party which is certain not to vote in favor of Sakellaropoulou is the Communist group, since that party always abstains from the Presidential vote as a matter of principle.
Later on Wednesday, Fofi Gennimata, the President of the center-left KINAL party also announced that her party’s 20 MPs will also vote in favor of Sakellaropoulou.
”I am confident that she will fulfill her constitutional mission responsibly and that is why she will have our support,” Gennimata noted.
This leaves the window open for an historic landslide for Sakellaropoulou’s candidacy, who is expected to become the first female President in the history of the Greek state on January 22.
The longtime Supreme Court jurist will officially assume office in March of 2020.

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