Greece swears in first female president, no handshakes amid coronavirus

by Reuters
Friday, 13 March 2020 10:24 GMT

Newly elected Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, gestures as Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Spokesman of the Greek Parliament Konstantinos Tasoulas, applaud during the swearing-in ceremony at the parliament in Athens, Greece March 13, 2020. Thanassis Stavrakis/Pool via REUTERS

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Katerina Sakellaropoulou was sworn in on Friday as Greece's first female president in a ceremony without handshakes amid coronavirus fears

ATHENS, March 13 (Reuters) - 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.

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.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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