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The Greek President will attend the opening of the Olympic Games in Sochi

17 January 2014 / 12:01:51  GRReporter
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The Greek Presidency has officially announced that Karolos Papoulias will attend the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi from 6 February to 8 February. While the Presidents of the United States, Germany and France, Barack Obama, Joachim Gauck and Francois Hollande respectively, and British Prime Minister David Cameron have decided to boycott the ceremony in protest against the systematic violation of human rights in Russia, Papoulias is going to spend a few days there. In addition, he will probably meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his stay in Moscow.

The news came out during the traditional cocktail related to the cutting of the New Year cake at the Presidency. However, there were more surprises during the event. In his speech, Karolos Papoulias expressed his gratitude to the staff of the Presidency for their cooperation, saying that this would be the last year he would work with them.

Papoulias’ words astonished the Greek media that asked, "What is happening to the President?" Just two days earlier, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had said in Strasbourg that his government would ensure political stability in Greece until the presidential elections in 2015.

According to reports in the Greek media, head of the presidential administration Ambassador Konstantinos Bitsios spoke with Papoulias shortly after his speech. Immediately afterwards, the President turned to the reporters, saying, "I will be here in March inclusive to hand over the Presidency to my successor," which did not bring any clarity.

It is worth noting that the term of the Greek president is 5 years. There is always only one nomination and the vote takes place in Parliament. This is the second term of Karolos Papoulias, who was first elected to the post in 2005 at the proposal of New Democracy, which was the ruling party at the time. We recall that Papoulias is a member of PASOK and held senior party and government posts while the Socialists were in power.

So far, it is not clear who will be nominated by the government as his successor. At the end of 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos had said in a television interview that composer Mikis Theodorakis was a suitable candidate. "He is a left-wing intellectual, a man who has glorified the country abroad, a great artistic person," said Venizelos.

The composer had negatively replied to the proposal of the PASOK leader, firmly refusing in a letter to respond to it.

Tags: PoliticsGreek PresidentKarolos PapouliasOlympic Games in SochiVladimir Putin
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