Prime Minister Karamanlis Nominates Former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias For President Of The Hellenic Republic

EMBASSY OF GREECE, Press and Communications Office
2211 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. 20008
Athens, December 13, 2004, Athens News Agency

On Sunday night, December 12, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis named former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election in March to succeed Kostis Stephanopoulos whose second five-year term ends in March 2005.

In a televised address last night, the Prime Minister underlined that the government chose the route of consensus and understanding, stressing that every step in this direction is a victory for Greek society. "What comes first is the political progress of Greece. For some time I have underlined my belief that the political forces of the country have a duty to reach an understanding on the election of the new President of the Republic. This is dictated by respect for the institutions and common sense," he said. He noted that the government's choice placed priority on consensus that was in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and the demands of society, putting forward a candidate that could rally the support of all parties instead of picking one of many able and suitable candidates from within ruling New Democracy's own ranks. "Our goal is not to impose our choices, as the majority political force. Instead, it is our duty to gain society's widest possible acceptance for the person of the President of the Republic," he emphasized.

Mr. Karamanlis also stressed that the future president should be a political figure, who could bring to the post the experience, knowledge and ability acquired in the course of a long political career. "Primarily, we need in the position of President a person that in his career has learned to synthesize and unite. A prudent and consensual president who will continue the work of Kostis Stephanopoulos who has so ably served the institutions and Greece, above and beyond all parties and ideologies," he said.

The premier stressed that these qualities came together in the person of Karolos Papoulias, a veteran politician who had served as foreign minister under successive PASOK governments but was now no longer an MP and thus sufficiently removed from the daily grind of politics. Noting that Mr. Papoulias had proved his moderation over his long career and his ability to work flawlessly with all the parties during his stint as chairman of Parliament's foreign affairs committee, the premier said he believed the choice to be both correct and bold.

"We have overcome party boundaries. Our goal is only to serve the country," Prime Minister Karamanlis concluded.

Resume of Mr. Karolos Papoulias

Karolos Papoulias was born in June 1929 in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina in Epirus. He studied law, graduating from the Athens Law School and then pursuing postgraduate studies in Munich, and speaks German, Italian and French.

A close associate of Andreas Papandreou, the founder of the PASOK party and father of current PASOK leader George Papandreou, Mr. Papoulias joined PASOK Central Committee and entered politics on returning to Greece from Germany after the fall of the dictatorship in 1974.

His first government post was with the newly-elected PASOK government of 1981, when he was appointed deputy foreign minister and he remained within the foreign ministry until 1989 when PASOK lost the elections, becoming alternate foreign minister in 1984 and foreign minister in 1985.

When PASOK was re-elected in 1993, Mr. Papoulias was again appointed foreign minister and remained at the head of the ministry until January 1996.

He is married to Maria Panou and is the father of three daughters.