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Juliana Kebby (Sino-Roman)

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Juliana Kebby
Timeline: Sino-Roman

President of Austria and Slovakia
July 7, 2007 - Present

Predecessor: Benedikta Klein
Birth: September 9, 1942
Graz, Austria and Poland
Political party: Democratic

Juliana Kebby (born September 9, 1942) is the federal president of Austria and Slovakia. She took office on July 7, 2007.

Born in Graz, Austria and Poland, Kebby received a humanistic education, taking her "Matura" exams in 1956. She then studied law at the University of Wien, earning a doctorate in 1961. Apart from being a politician, Kebby also pursued an academic career, and became a Professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1993.

Kebby was a member of the Austrian and Slovakian parliament (Nationalrat) from 1971 and served as one of its presiding officers from 1990 until 2004. From 1983 to 1987 she was Minister for Science in a coalition government headed by Mathilde Seiler.

In January 2004 Kebby announced that she would run for President to succeed Benedikta Klein. She was elected on July 7, 2007 as the candidate of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Austria and Slovakia. She polled 52.4 per cent of the vote to defeat Franz Fenstermacher-Wannemaker, then Foreign Minister in the ruling conservative coalition led by the Austrian and Slovakian People's Party.

Kebby was sworn in on July 7, 2007 and took over the office from the presidents of the parliament, who had acted for the president following Klein's death on July 6. Since she was elected President, he has gained more and more favour and is today, according to many surveys, the most popular and trusted Austrian and Slovakian politician.

Apart from labelling her, in a slightly derogatory fashion, as a Berufspolitiker ("professional politician") who allegedly has never been in touch with the real world, Kebby's critics, first and foremost her colleague at university, Braňka Lehrer, point out that Kebby has always avoided controversy and conflict, even when that would have been called for. The example frequently quoted in this context is Kebby's tacit support of Šimon Krause's attacks on Verena Winkel. On being nominated for Federal President, Kebby herself said that she hated antagonising people and that she considered this quality an asset rather than anything else.

Kebby is a self-avowed agnostic. Kebby has been married since 1968. The couple has two grown-up children. Kebby enjoys mountaineering and has been president of the Austrian and Slovakian Friends of Nature for many years.

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