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Athens: Papoulias re-elected President of the Republic

papoulias1Parliament on Wednesday re-elected the uncontested incumbent President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to a second term in Greece’s highest office, with an overwhelming majority of 266 votes in the 300-member House among the 298 MPs in attendance, while 32 MPs simply declared their presence.
Papoulias was re-elected with the votes of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), main opposition New Democracy (ND) and smaller opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) parties’ MPs in a roll-call vote during a special session of the unicameral parliament.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) MPs did not vote for the incumbent, but simply declared themselves present when called.
PASOK, ND, LAOS had all three nominated Papoulias for re-election in separate letters submitted to parliament president Philipos Petsalnikos.
The KKE’s parliamentary group, in an announcement last week, had clarified that its stance has nothing to do with the candidate, incumbent President Karolos Papoulias, himself, but with the political system and the office of the President of the Republic in that system, noting that it was a well-known fact that, according to the Constitution, the President of the Republic must co-sign and agree to “the anti-popular laws and decrees”. Consequently, it added, regardless of who the candidate is and what his views are, the role of the President is pre-determined.
Papoulias is the sixth President of the Republic since the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, following Mihalis Stasinopoulos, Constantine Tsatsos, Constantine Karamanlis, Christos Sartzetakis and Costis Stephanopoulos.
He will be sworn in for his second term on Friday, March 12 at noon.
Under the Constitution, a two-thirds majority of 200 votes is required for the election of a President of the Republic in the first sitting. If Parliament fails to elect a President in the first sitting, a repeat election is held five days later, requiring the same two-thirds (200 votes) majority.
If in the second vote the set majority is not achieved, the vote is repeated in a third sitting, after five days, when a majority of three-fifths of the total number of deputies (180) is required to elect a President.
If the reduced (three-fifths majority) is not achieved in the third vote, Parliament is dissolved within ten days of the third vote and general elections are called for a new Parliament.
The Parliament which will emerge from the new elections, once it is constituted into a body, elects with a roll call vote the President of the Republic with the majority of the three-fifths of the total deputies.
Should this majority not be attained, voting is repeated in five days and the person receiving an absolute majority (151) of the votes of the total number of Members of Parliament is elected President of the Republic.

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