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President of the Hellenic Republic
Standard of the President of Greece.svg
Presidential Standard of the Hellenic Republic
Incumbent
Dr. Karolos Papoulias
(took office: 12 March 2005)
Style His Excellency
Term length 5 years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Michail Stasinopoulos
Formation 18 December 1974
Website www.presidency.gr
Greece

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The President of the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Πρόεδρος της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας), colloquially referred to in English as the President of Greece, is the head of state of Greece. The office of the President of the Republic was established after the Greek republic referendum, 1974 and formally by the Constitution of Greece in 1975. The incumbent is Dr. Karolos Papoulias.

Contents

Powers

The President is the nominal Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and occupies the first place in the Greek order of precedence. His position however is largely ceremonial, as the President's powers were limited under the current Greek Constitution of 1974, and again curtailed in the Constitutional amendment of 1986. The Prime Minister of Greece is the active chief executive of the Greek government.

Election of the President

The President of the Republic is elected for five years by the Parliament (not through direct popular vote). Article 32 of the Greek Constitution provides that a President should be elected by roll call by a special session of Parliament and at least a month before the incumbent President is due to leave office in either one or two stages. The tenure of the President may be extended in the event of War or if the voting for a new President is not completed in time.

The first stage includes three separate ballots:

  • First Ballot - 200 Votes

In the first ballot the votes of a two-thirds majority of the total number of Members of Parliament is required.

  • Second Ballot - 200 Votes

If the said majority is not attained, the ballot is repeated after five days, the same majority being required.

  • Third Ballot - 180 Votes

If once again the required majority is not attained, voting is repeated after five days, the person receiving the votes of a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic. If the third ballot also fails to produce the required majority, Parliament shall be dissolved within ten days of the vote and elections for a new Parliament shall be called.

The second stage of the procedure is conducted by the new Parliament as soon as it has constituted itself as a body and includes another three successive ballots:

  • First Ballot - 180 Votes

In the first ballot the votes of a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament is required.

  • Second Ballot - 151 Votes

Should this majority not be attained, voting is repeated within five days and the person receiving an absolute majority of the votes of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic.

  • Third Ballot

If the second ballot fails to produce the required majority, then within five days the third and final vote takes place between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. The person who receives a relative majority shall be elected President of the Republic.

Oath of Office

Great State Seal of the
Presidency of the Hellenic Republic

Before taking office, the President must recite an oath before Parliament:

"I swear in the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity to safeguard the Constitution and the laws, to ensure their faithful observance, to defend the national independence and territorial integrity of the Country, to protect the rights and liberties of the Greeks and to serve the general interest and the progress of the Greek People."

Official residence

The official residence of the President is the Presidential Palace, formerly the Royal Palace, in central Athens.

History

The current Third Hellenic Republic (Greek: Γʹ Ελληνική Δημοκρατία) was declared in 1974 during the period of metapolitefsi, after the end of the Regime of the Colonels which had controlled Greece since the coup d'etat of 21 April 1967.

The Junta had already held a staged plebiscite to abolish the monarchy on 29 July 1973, and passed a new Constitution which established a presidential republic (with junta ringleader Georgios Papadopoulos as President). This short-lived attempt at controlled democratization was ended by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides' overthrow of Papadopoulos in November 1973. The Republic was maintained, but was nothing more than a façade for the military regime.

After the fall of the regime and the return to civilian rule in August 1974 however, the legal and constitutional acts of the junta were deemed invalid, and a new plebiscite was held on 8 December 1974, which finally abolished the monarchy. A new Constitution, promulgated on 11 June 1975, declared Greece a presidential parliamentary democracy (or republic – the Greek δημοκρατία can be translated both ways). This constitution, revised in 1985 and 2001, is still in force today.

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List of presidents of the Third Republic

President Picture Life Took office Left office Comments
Michail Stasinopoulos Stasinopoulos.jpg 1903–2002 December 18, 1974 June 19, 1975 1st President (pro tempore).
Elected by parliament with 206 votes
Constantine Tsatsos Tsatsos.jpg 1899–1987 June 19, 1975 May 15, 1980 2nd President
Supported by the New Democracy party, elected by parliament with 210 votes
Constantine Karamanlis KaramanlisNatsinasAgora crop.jpg 1907–1998 May 15, 1980 March 10, 1985 3rd President (first term)
Supported by the New Democracy party, elected by parliament with 183 votes on the third ballot
Ioannis Alevras 1912–1995 March 10, 1985 March 30, 1985 Speaker of Parliament acting as President pro tempore
Christos Sartzetakis 1929– March 30, 1985 May 4, 1990 4th President
Supported by the PASOK party, elected by parliament with 180 votes on the third ballot
Constantine Karamanlis KaramanlisNatsinasAgora crop.jpg 1907–1998 May 4, 1990 March 10, 1995 (second term)
Supported by the New Democracy party, elected by parliament with 153 votes on the fifth ballot
Konstantinos Stephanopoulos Kostis stephanopoulos.jpg 1926– March 10, 1995 March 12, 2005 5th President (two terms)
Supported by the Political Spring and PASOK parties, elected by parliament with 181 votes on the third ballot. Re-elected with 269 votes on the first ballot
Karolos Papoulias Karolos Papoulias .jpg 1929– March 12, 2005 incumbent 6th President (two terms)
Supported by the New Democracy and PASOK parties, elected by parliament with 279 votes on the first ballot. Re-elected with 266 votes on the first ballot

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