Papoulias, who was also foreign minister in 1985-89 and 1993-96, was a high-ranking member of socialist PASOK party and a close associate of its late leader and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou.
President Katerina Sakellaropoulou paid tribute for his role in the resistance against Nazi occupation during World War Two and against Greece’s 1967-74 military junta.
“His participation in the national resistance and the anti-dictatorship struggle…reflected his continuous devotion to the ideals of freedom and justice, which he defended throughout his life,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement.
“Αs President of the Republic ηε honored the highest state institution, vigorously defending social cohesion and national unity,” she added.
Ευπατρίδης και βαθύς γνώστης της πολιτικής και της διπλωματίας, ο Κάρολος Παπούλιας ως Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας τίμησε τον ανώτατο πολιτειακό θεσμό, υπερασπιζόμενος με σθένος την κοινωνική συνοχή και την εθνική ενότητα. Θερμά συλλυπητήρια στην οικογένειά του.
— President GR (@PresidencyGR) December 26, 2021
“Greeks bow their head in respect to the responsible President, the visionary minister, the noble opponent, and dedicated patriot. To the approachable and mild-mannered politician, as well as the sensitive and educated person,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his statement.
“They hold up the decades of his life as an exemplary journey of a true public servant. They are inspired by his message of unity and dignity that he will eternally stand for,” he added.
Papoulias was President of Greece between 2005 and 2015
He was born in the village Molybdoskepastos of Ioannina and was son of major general Grigorios Papoulias.
He obtained a Law degree from the University of Athens, a master’s degree in Public International Law and International Relations from the University of Milan, and a doctorate in Private International Law from the University of Cologne.
He was an associate of the Munich Institute for Southeast Europe. Apart from his native Greek, he also spoke English, French, German and Italian.
In 1963, Papoulias settled in West Germany and in 1967, when a military junta seized power in Greece, he founded a resistance organization. It was during the 1967-74 period that he met and became close to Papandreou.
In 1974 he became a member of the political party PASOK and was elected MP with PASOK for 26 years (1977-2004). Papoulias was well-known for his close relations with Arab leaders, including PLO head Yasser Arafat and Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, and, in general, was cool to Western policies.
As a lawmaker, he protested vigorously against NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999 and voiced support for Serbian nationalist leader and suspected war criminal Slobodan Milošević.
He was elected President of the Hellenic Republic in February 2005 from the first round and was re-elected president on February 3, 2010.
Papoulias was married to May (Maria) Panou and had three daughters.