|President of Greece|
March 10, 1995 – March 12, 2005
|Prime Minister||Andreas Papandreou
|Preceded by||Constantine Karamanlis|
|Succeeded by||Karolos Papoulias|
August 15, 1926 |
|Political party||Democratic Renewal|
Konstantinos "Kostis" Stephanopoulos (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος (Κωστής) Στεφανόπουλος, born August 15, 1926) is a Greek conservative politician who served two consecutive terms as President of Greece, from 1995 to 2005.
Life and career
Stephanopoulos was born in Patras. After attending the Saint Andrew school of Patras, he studied law at Athens University. He practiced law from 1954 until 1974 as a member of the Bar Association of Patras.
He first stood for election in 1958, with the National Radical Union and was elected for the first time as Member of Parliament for Achaia in 1964. He was re-elected for the same constituency for New Democracy (ND) in 1974, 1977, 1981 and 1985. He served as ND parliamentary secretary and parliamentary spokesman between 1981 and 1985.
In 1974, Stephanopoulos was appointed Deputy Minister of Commerce in the National Unity government of Constantine Karamanlis. For the next seven years he served in a number of ministerial posts in New Democracy governments: Minister for the Interior from November 1974 to September 1976; Minister for Social Services from September 1976 to November 1977; Minister for the Presidency from 1977 to 1981.
In August 1985 he withdrew from the ND and on September 6 of the same year formed the Democratic Renewal (DIANA). He was elected Member of Parliament for Athens in the elections of 1989 while continuing as president of DIΑΝΑ, until it disbanded in June 1994.
In the presidential election of 1995, after being nominated by the conservative party Political Spring and supported by the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), he was elected President of Greece on March 8, 1995. He became the sixth President since the restoration of a democratic system of government in 1974 and the fifth person to hold the office, winning the election on a third ballot with 181 votes. He was re-elected on February 8, 2000, on the first ballot after receiving 269 votes from the 298 MPs present, and remained in office until March 2, 2005, when he was succeeded by Karolos Papoulias.
As a President he was known for his low-key profile, unifying approach to current and international affairs, and gentlemanlike behaviour. During his presidency, he was consistently the most popular public figure in Greece.
As head of state of the host country, he officially declared the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens open, on August 13, 2004. During the Olympic Games in 2004, he received the former King Constantine II of Greece at the Presidential Mansion. It was the highest political recognition given to the former king since he was deposed in 1973.
Honours and awards
Stephanopoulos has received many honorary awards and the highest decorations of foreign countries. He is an honorary citizen of many Greek towns.
- Poland : Order of the White Eagle (1996)
- Croatia : Grand Order of King Tomislav ("For outstanding contribution to promoting friendly relations and developing mutual cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and the Hellenic Republic." – December 3, 1998)
- Slovakia : Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (2000)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (January 23, 2001)
- Italy : Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
- Iceland : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon (18 September 2001)
- Norway : Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (2004)
- Estonia : Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
- Latvia : Order of the Three Stars, 1st Class
- Romania : Sash of Order of the Star of Romania
- Albania: Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana on the occasion of his state visit to Albania.
- Ο Γ. Παπανδρέου δημοφιλέστερος πολιτικός, Imerisia Online
- Πρώτος σε δημοτικότητα ο Κ. Στεφανόπουλος, Imerisia Online
- Slovak republic website, State honours : 1st Class in 2000 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)
- www.gouvernement.lu/, State visit of President Stephanopoulos in Luxembourg, July 2001
- Icelandic Presidency Website (Icelandic), Order of the Falcon, Stephanopoulos, Constantinos
- Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana, 19.10.2004
|President of Greece