The Greek President is the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Third Hellenic Republic. Between 1967 and 1974, Greece was under military rule, and democracy did not have a place in Greek politics. A referendum was held in 1974 where the Greek citizens voted to abolish the monarchy in place of a presidential republic. The position of the president of the Third Hellenic Republic is provided for in the 1975 Constitution. The duties are to appoint the prime minister, on whose recommendation appoints ministers and other officials of the government. The president proclaims a referendum and dissolves Parliament through the guidelines articulated in the Constitution. The president represents Greece on international forums and declares war as well as ratifying treaties.
Presidents Of Greece Since 1974
Michail Stasinopoulos (1974 – 1975)
Michail Stasinopoulos was the Greek President between 1974 and 1975. He was born on July 27, 1903 in Kalamata, Greece and obtained a law degree and doctorate from University of Athens. He served as a professor at his alma mater as well as at the Panteion University. He held several Ministerial positions before the military rule in the country, and he was elected to the legislature under the New Democratic Party in 1974. He was the President of the interim government in 1974. He is hailed for his contributions to science and literature through his numerous published works. His publications and lecture works influenced the drafting of the administrative law in the country. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, and he died on October 31, 2000 in Athens, Greece.
Konstantinos Tsatsos (1975 - 1980)
Konstantinos Tsatsos was born July 1, 1899 in Athens, Greece and studied law at the University of Athens and at Heidelberg University in Germany. He was a law professor at the University of Athens until he was arrested and later exiled by the Metaxas Dictatorship. He returned to Greece after the Second World War and served in various ministerial positions and the legislature until the military rule was enforced in Greece. He devoted himself to writing until democracy was restored in the country in 1974, after which he was the Minister of Culture and was elected to the legislature. He was chair of the committee charged with drafting the 1975 Constitution, and he was elected as president in the same year. As president, Tsatsos was committed to the consolidation of the necessary institutions to ensure democracy was fully restored in Greece. He is remembered for his vast writings on law and literature. He died on October 8, 1987.
Konstantinos Karamanlis (1980-1985; 1990-1995)
Konstantinos Karamanlis served as the Greek President from 1980 to 1985 and again between 1990 and 1995. He was born on March 8, 1907, and obtained a law degree from the University of Athens. His political career began in the legislature in 1935, and he was appointed as Prime Minister in 1955 when the Monarchy was still in power. He resigned from the post in 1963 and left for a self-imposed exile in Paris, after a dispute with the Monarchy. He was elected as the Greek President in 1980, after having served as the Prime Minister between 1975 and 1980. He oversaw the country’s integration into the European Economic Community in 1981, a cause which he had championed. He served as President again from 1990, after the Conservatives retook power, serving until 1955. He is remembered for his efforts towards European integration, and he was the beneficiary of the Karlspreis in 1978, one of Europe’s most prestigious awards. He died on April 23, 1998.
Christos Sartzetakis (1985-1990)
Christos Sartzetakis was the Greek President from 1985 to 1990. He was born on April 6, 1929, in Thessaloniki, Greece and studied law at the University of Thessaloniki. He practiced law in his hometown, rising through the ranks to become a magistrate of the Court of First Instance. In 1963, while investigating the murder of the member of Parliament Grigoris Lambrakis, he uncovered a murder conspiracy involving senior officials in the government of Constantine Karamanlis. In 1975, he left for Paris to study comparative law until he was recalled back to Greece by the military junta and jailed for a year. His release in 1971 was agitated for internationally. After democracy was restored in Greece, he became the President of the Court of Appeals in 1981, and he was elected as the Greek President in 1985. He is revered for his fight for democracy as well as his integrity as a prosecutor and a judge.
Other Presidents of Greece
The rest of the Presidents of the Third Hellenic Republic are Konstantinos Stephanopoulos (1995-2005) and Karolos Papoulias (2005-2015). The incumbent President is Prokopis Pavlopoulos, elected in 2015. The Greek President principally undertakes ceremonial roles, as the real power rests with the government which is headed by the Prime Minister.