President of Greece

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President of the Hellenic Republic
Πρόεδρος της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας
Standard of the President of Greece.svg
Standard of the President
Karolos Papoulias.jpg
Karolos Papoulias

since 12 March 2005
Style Excellency
Residence Presidential Mansion, Athens
Appointer Hellenic Parliament
Term length Five years
renewable once
Inaugural holder Michail Stasinopoulos
18 December 1974
Formation Constitution of Greece
Salary 138,732 [1]
Coat of arms of Greece.svg
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The President of the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Πρόεδρος της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας), colloquially referred to in English as the President of Greece, is the head of state of Greece. The President is elected by the Hellenic Parliament, and his role is mostly ceremonial since the 1986 constitutional reform. The office was formally established by the Constitution of Greece in 1975, but has antecedents in the Second Hellenic Republic of 1924–35 and the republic established by the Greek military junta in 1973–74. The incumbent, since 2005, is Karolos Papoulias, serving his second consecutive term in office.

The presidential election to replace Papoulias took place in three ballots on 17, 23 and 29 December 2014,[2] with Stavros Dimas as the joint candidate of the ruling New Democracy–PASOK coalition.[3] However, the government failed to secure the required number of votes, triggering an early general election, held 25 January 2015.[4] The new parliament will then elect the new president.


The president is the nominal commander-in-chief of the Greek Armed Forces and occupies the first place in the country's order of precedence. Although the Greek Constitution of 1974 vested him with considerable powers on paper, in practice the president took a largely ceremonial role; the Prime Minister of Greece is the active chief executive of the Greek government and the country's leading political figure. The president's role was formally brought into line with actual practice by the 1986 constitutional amendment, which reduced his official powers.

Election of the President[edit]

The President of the Republic is elected for five years by the Parliament (not through direct popular vote). Article 32 of the Greek Constitution provides that a President should be elected by roll call by a special session of Parliament and at least a month before the incumbent President is due to leave office in either one or two stages. The tenure of the President may be extended in the event of War or if the voting for a new President is not completed in time.

The first stage includes three separate ballots:

  • First Ballot - 200 Votes

In the first ballot the votes of a two-thirds majority of the total number of Members of Parliament is required.

  • Second Ballot - 200 Votes

If the said majority is not attained, the ballot is repeated after five days, the same majority being required.

  • Third Ballot - 180 Votes

If once again the required majority is not attained, voting is repeated after five days, the person receiving the votes of a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic. If the third ballot also fails to produce the required majority, Parliament shall be dissolved within ten days of the vote and elections for a new Parliament shall be called.

The second stage of the procedure is conducted by the new Parliament as soon as it has constituted itself as a body and includes another three successive ballots:

  • Fourth Ballot - 180 Votes

In the first ballot the votes of a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament is required.

  • Fifth Ballot - 151 Votes

Should this majority not be attained, voting is repeated within five days and the person receiving an absolute majority of the votes of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic.

  • Sixth Ballot

If the second ballot fails to produce the required majority, then within five days the third and final vote takes place between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes. The person who receives a relative majority shall be elected President of the Republic.

Oath of Office[edit]

Before taking office, the President must recite an oath before Parliament:

"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."

Official residence[edit]

The Presidential Mansion in Athens

The official residence of the President is the Presidential Mansion, formerly the Royal Palace, in central Athens.


For more details on this topic, see History of the Hellenic Republic.

The current Third Hellenic Republic (Greek: Γʹ Ελληνική Δημοκρατία) was established in 1974 during the period of metapolitefsi, after the end of the Regime of the Colonels which had controlled Greece since the coup d'état of 21 April 1967.

On 1 June 1973 the then leader of the military junta and regent for the exiled King Constantine II, Georgios Papadopoulos, abolished the Greek monarchy and proclaimed himself President of the Republic. A staged referendum on 29 July 1973 confirmed the regime change, and passed a new constitution which established a presidential republic. This attempt at controlled democratization was ended by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis' overthrow of Papadopoulos in November 1973. The republic and its institutions were formally maintained, but was nothing more than a façade for the military regime. Lt. General Phaedon Gizikis was appointed President of the Republic, but power was in the hands of Ioannidis, who ruled behind the scenes.

After the fall of the junta and the return to civilian rule under Konstantinos Karamanlis in August 1974, the legal and constitutional acts of the military regime were deemed invalid, and a new referendum was held on 8 December 1974, which finally abolished the monarchy. In the interim, Gizikis, remained in office as President. After the plebiscite, he was succeeded by the first elected President, Michail Stasinopoulos.

A new constitution, promulgated on 11 June 1975, declared Greece a presidential parliamentary democracy (or republic – the Greek δημοκρατία can be translated both ways). This constitution, revised in 1985, 2001, and 2008, is still in force today.

List of presidents of the Third Republic[edit]

President Term of office Political party
# Portrait Name Took office Left office Duration
1 No image.png Michail Stasinopoulos
Μιχαήλ Στασινόπουλος
18 December 1974 19 July 1975 0 years, 213 days Non-political
Writer and jurist, former President of the Council of State. Supported by New Democracy, he was elected unopposed by the ND-dominated parliament resulting from the 17 November 1974 election and following the definitive abolition of the Greek monarchy in the 8 December 1974 referendum, with 206 votes on the first ballot.
2 Konstantinos Tsatsos.JPG Konstantinos Tsatsos
Κωνσταντίνος Τσάτσος
19 July 1975 10 May 1980 4 years, 296 days New Democracy
Jurist and multiple cabinet minister with the National Radical Union and New Democracy. Elected by the 1974 Parliament on the first ballot with 210 votes against Panagiotis Kanellopoulos.
3 KaramanlisNatsinasAgora crop.jpg Konstantinos Karamanlis
Κωνσταντίνος Γ. Καραμανλής
10 May 1980 10 March 1985
4 years, 304 days New Democracy
Prime Minister as leader of the National Radical Union in 1955–63 and again as leader of New Democracy since 1974. Supported by ND, KODISO and KKE Interior, he was elected by the ND-dominated 1977 parliament on the third ballot with 183 votes against seven other candidates put forward by minor parties. Resigned before the end of his term due to his falling out with Andreas Papandreou and PASOK's decision not to support him for a second term in 1985.
- No image.png Ioannis Alevras
Ιωάννης Αλευράς
10 March 1985 29 March 1985 0 years, 20 days Panhellenic Socialist Movement
PASOK MP and Speaker of Parliament, he substituted for Karamanlis following his early resignation.
4 Christos Sartzetakis (1989) cropped.jpg Christos Sartzetakis
Χρήστος Σαρτζετάκης (1929– )
29 March 1985 5 May 1990 5 years, 37 days Non-political
Jurist, famous for his role in the Lambrakis assassination. He was supported by PASOK and KKE, and was elected unopposed by the PASOK-dominated 1981 Parliament on the third ballot with 180 votes.
5 KaramanlisNatsinasAgora crop.jpg Konstantinos Karamanlis
Κωνσταντίνος Γ. Καραμανλής
5 May 1990 10 March 1995 4 years, 310 days New Democracy
The November 1989 Parliament failed to elect a President after three ballots, with the votes of PASOK being split between incumbent Christos Sartzetakis and Ioannis Alevras, leading to its dissolution and snap elections. Karamanlis did not present himself as a candidate during the first three ballots, but was put forward by New Democracy after the elections. He was elected by the new 1990 Parliament on the fifth ballot with 153 votes, opposed by PASOK-sponsored Ioannis Alevras and Konstantinos Despotopoulos (el) (Synaspismos).
6 Kostis stephanopoulos.jpg Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
Κωνσταντίνος Στεφανόπουλος
(1926– )
10 March 1995 12 March 2005 10 years, 2 days Independent
National Radical Union and New Democracy MP and cabinet minister, after 1985 leader of the breakaway Democratic Renewal party. Supported by PASOK and Political Spring, he was elected by the PASOK-dominated 1993 Parliament on the third ballot with 181 votes, against ND's candidate Athanasios Tsaldaris (el). His re-election in 2000 was by the PASOK-dominated 1996 Parliament, as a joint candidate of PASOK and ND, standing against Synaspismos' Leonidas Kyrkos.
7 Karolos Papoulias.jpg Karolos Papoulias
Κάρολος Παπούλιας
(1929– )
12 March 2005 Incumbent 9 years, 321 days Panhellenic Socialist Movement
PASOK MP and multiple cabinet minister. He was elected unopposed for his first term by the New Democracy-dominated 2004 Parliament as a joint candidate of ND and PASOK on the first ballot with 279 votes. Re-elected unopposed for a second term in 2010 by the PASOK-dominated 2009 Parliament as a joint candidate of PASOK, ND and LAOS on the first ballot with 266 votes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Κούρεμα 50% στο μισθό του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας (in Greek). 14 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Στις 17 Δεκεμβρίου η πρώτη ψηφοφορία για την εκλογή Προέδρου Δημοκρατίας" (in Greek). 8 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Σαμαράς: Ο Σταύρος Δήμας υποψήφιος Πρόεδρος Δημοκρατίας" (in Greek). 9 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Maltezou, Renee; Papadimas, Lefteris (29 December 2014). "Greece faces early election after PM loses vote on president". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-01-26.