Death of Karolos Papoulias, former Greek president

Karolos Papoulias, President of the Hellenic Republic from 2005 to 2015, died Sunday, December 26, at the age of 92, announced the Greek presidency.

« With sadness, we send our last greetings to Karolos Papoulias »Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a statement. « He honored by his ethics and his behavior the highest state institution, vigorously defending social cohesion and national unity », she added.

Coming from the ranks of the socialist Pasok party, Karolos Papoulias was first elected president in 2005, before being re-elected for a second five-year term in 2010, at the start of the Greek crisis, which plunged the country into turmoil. most serious political and economic crisis in decades. He was then faced with the wrath of the Greeks and his popularity suffered a fatal blow for his support for austerity, dictated by the EU and the IMF.

In October 2012, Greece was in the throes of a spiraling debt crisis and unpopular wage cuts. Protesters blocked a national parade in Thessaloniki and chanted “traitor” as President Papoulias, then 83, passed by.

Before leaving the parade with vexation, the latter had not failed to deliver the bottom of his thoughts to the media and the hecklers. “We fought for Greece. I was a resistance fighter at 15, fighting against Nazism and the Germans ”, said the head of state, whose father was a senior army officer who had also fought for Greece. He was one of the first politicians to give up his salary in solidarity « To the sacrifices of the people ».

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One of the co-founders of Pasok

Born in Ioannina in Epirus, on June 4, 1929, he was active in the anti-Nazi resistance from 1942 to 1944, when he was only a teenager. He was then a top athlete, national pole vault champion and member of the national volleyball team.

After studying law in Athens, Milan, Italy, then Cologne, Germany, he became a lawyer in 1963, a profession he held until 1981, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Andréas Papandréou. .

During the colonels’ dictatorship (1967-1974), he went into exile in Germany and became one of the co-founders of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) led by Andréas Papandreou.

Member of Parliament from 1977 to 2000, he was twice foreign minister in socialist governments (1985-1989 and 1993-1996) and led the pro-Arab and pro-Serbian policy of the Pasok during the Yugoslav war in the years 1990.

The World with AFP

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