Biography of the President of Greece

Karolos Papoulias
Born in Ioannina in 1929.
He studied at the Law Schools of Athens and Milan, and acquired his PhD at Cologne University.
He practiced law from 1963 to 1981.
He was a close associate of (then) prime minister Andreas Papandreou, a former pole vault champion, an official of the National Vollebyall team, and president of the National Athletics Association.
In 1967, one month following the imposition of the colonels’ dictatorship, he was in Germany, where he was a protagonist in the founding of the resistance organisation “Overseas Socialist Democratic Union”, of which he was elected General Secretary.
Throughout the seven-year dictatorship (1967-1974), he collaborated regularly with Deutsche Welle Radio’s Greek programme, denouncing the colonels’ regime.
He was a founding member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 1974, and became a member of the party’s Central Committee.
From April 1975 until 1985, he served as secretary of PASOK’s International Relations Committee, while from 1976-1980 he was a member of the party’s Coordinating Council.
In 1977, he was elected to parliament for the first time, for the Ioannina electoral district, on the PASOK ticket, and was re-elected eight times, serving a total of 27 consecutive years as MP.
He assumed his first governmental post in 1981, when he was named Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and since then participated consistently in the formulation of foreign policy under the governments of the late Andreas Papandreou, working his way up to Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In October 1995, he was elected to the PASOK Executive Bureau and to the party’s Political Secretariat for the first time.
Following the 1996 general elections, he took the helm of Greece’s parliamentary representation to the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
In June 2000, he was appointed a member of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Truce Foundation.
On February 8, 2005, the two mainstream parties in the Hellenic parliament — the ruling New Democracy party (ND) and main opposition PASOK party — backed his candidacy for President of the Republic, after he was nominated by ND leader and prime minister Costas Karamanlis in December 2004, and was elected with a record 279 votes in the 300-member unicameral House of Parliament.
He served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1981-1984), Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs (1984-1985), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1985-1990, 1993-1996) and Alternate Minister of Defence of the National Unity Goverment (1989-1990).
He is married, and has three daughters


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