Today the Congress elected Greece's President; Mr. Papoulias will take on a second term as the Greek President.
Since I immigrated to Greece I have an interest in learning the ins and outs of the government. For example, the President of Greece has very different duties than those of the USA President, certainly the Greek President has no where near the same amount of power. Nor does he have anywhere the power that Dick Cheney had during his vice-presidency.
The Greek government is a parliamentary system, therefore the Prime Minister has a position which seems more similar to that of the the USA President.
Yet his duties are important and diverse. I mostly notice when he is wearing his 'host' hat or when he is needed for some controversy in the Congress. But as you see in the information below his duties cover the whole bredth of government including judicial and administrative.
Also I included for you to read, the oath the President of Greece must take. Here we have a state religion, the Greek Orthodox Church, so the presidential oath immediately recognizes the important divine incarnations of the all-powerful. (As opposed to a simple mention of "God.") I also find it interesting that the word "progress" is found in the presidential oath, "to serve . . . the progress of the people." I wonder how that would go over in the USA.
I found President Papoulias' biography to be quite different than any of the presidents we have had recently in the USA. President Papoulias speaks several languages, he has initiated peace between the now fragmented Yugoslavia and his personal history has a depth and experience not found in many other leaders in Europe nor the USA.
The Oath of the President of Greece
"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." The Oath of the President of the Republic of Greece
Papoulias reelected as Greek President Wed, 03 Feb 2010 11:24:41 GM
Greek President Karolos Papoulias Greek lawmakers have re-elected the 80-year-old Karolos Papoulias for a second term as the country's president in a move to avert political instability.
Both the ruling Socialists and the main conservative opposition New Democracy Party backed Papoulias, giving him 266 votes in the 300-seat parliament. His new five-year term begins on March 12.
Even though the office is largely ceremonial, failure to elect a head of state forces a snap general election.
"To overcome this crisis, we must mobilize all our forces and be united," Papoulias, a former Socialist foreign minister, said after the vote.
Introduction to the duties of the president from the Greek Constitution
"In accordance with article 30 par. 1 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic regulates the functions of the institutions of the Republic. However, his real powers are limited in comparison with those of the Prime Minister and the Ministers.
The powers of the President of the Republic may be characterized as symbolic, regulatory, legislative, administrative and judicial, they are specific, restricted to those set out in the Constitution and are governed."
for the complete list of presidential duties in the Greek Constitution please go to the following link. . .
The biography of President Papoulias
"Karolos Papoulias was born on June 4th, 1929, in Ioannina, Epirus. His father was Major General Grigorios Papoulias, a member of the heroic military academy class of 1911. He died in September 1936 as a result of the hardships he suffered during the 1921 expedition to Asia Minor.
Karolos Papoulias attended the Pogonian (Epirus) Elementary School and the High Schools of Pogoniani and Athens. During the Nazi occupation of Greece he was among the first to join the armed resistance against the invading forces.
He studied law at the Universities of Athens, Milan and Cologne where he submitted his PhD thesis on Private International Law. He worked for the Munich Institute for South-Eastern Europe. He is the author of a volume on the Greek resistance movement against the Nazis, published by the prestigious German publishing house Surkamp, as well as of a number of studies and articles that have appeared in foreign newspapers and magazines.
The 1967 military coup found him in Western Germany. He was among the founders of the Socialist Democratic Union which organized and mobilized Greeks working and studying in Western Europe against the colonel's junta. He was also a founding member of the first trade union resistance organization and broadcast regularly from Deutsche Welle radio. . . . .
. . . . . . .
He was very interested in relations between Greece and the Balkan states and it was upon his initiative that the first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Balkans was organized in Belgrade in 1988. There, he began talks with Bulgaria and the then Soviet Union on the Burgas- Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
He was responsible for the signing of the protocol of mutual civil and military assistance with Bulgaria in the 80's. He restored friendly and neighbourly relations with Albania by ending the state of war between the two countries.
Karolos Papoulias has always been very supportive of any step towards detente, peace and disarmament e.g. the "Initiative of the Six" for peace and disarmament, the participation of Greece in the Conference on Disarmament and Peace in Europe and in the Conference for the Abolition of Chemical Weapons, his proposals to create a nuclear-free zone in the Balkans and the promotion of the idea of making the Mediterranean a sea of peace and cooperation. The JANNINA 1 tripartite cooperation conference, between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, was his idea and he was a strong supporter of the Black Sea Conference, which he also chaired.
With his visit to Washington in 1985 and the return visit of Secretary of State George Shultz, he made an important contribution to the redefining and improvement of Greek-American relations which had gone through a delicate phase during the previous years.
He is a founding member and, was until recently the president, of the Association for the Greek Linguistic Heritage.
He speaks German, French and Italian.
He was Greek pole-vault champion, member of the national volley-ball team and president for twenty five years of the historic Ethnikos athletic union.