Prokopis Pavlopoulos elected as new president of Greece

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ATHENS. KAZINFORM - Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a moderate conservative former Minister of Interior, was elected on Wednesday as the new President of the Hellenic Republic.

A total of 233 deputies in the 300-member strong assembly voted in favor of Pavlopoulos during the roll call vote. He needed a minimum 180 votes to be elected, under the Greek Constitution. Nominated by the Radical Left SYRIZA ruling party and its junior partner the Right-wing Independent Greeks, who jointly control 162 seats in the chamber, Pavlopoulos also had the support of the New Democracy, the party he joined three decades ago. Thirty MPs voted for Constitutional Law Professor Nikos Alivizatos who was proposed by the centrist Potami (The River) party and backed also by the socialists of PASOK, while 32 legislators voted "present" and five deputies were absent. Pavlopoulos, a Law Professor of 64 years old, will be the seventh President of the Hellenic Republic after the restoration of democracy in 1974 following a seven-year military junta. He will assume office once the term of outgoing 85-year old President Karolos Papoulias expires on March 13. The failure of the previous parliament to elect Papoulias' successor in December triggered the snap general elections of Jan. 25. In a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after his nomination on Tuesday, Pavlopoulos stressed the necessity for a "common struggle" so that Greece exits the current debt crisis and for a strong Europe "as it was envisioned by its creators." He was selected by Tsipras as a respected figure which could unite Greeks regardless of ideological beliefs. The Leftist Premier followed a tradition started from his predecessors in recent years who proposed ideological opponents for the post of the Head of State as a gesture of willingness to cooperate with all political forces. Throughout his political career as member of the parliament from 1996-2014, Pavlopoulos was a moderate clear voice, political analysts in Athens noted. However his nomination was not welcomed by all. Pavlopoulos voted in recent years for bailout policies which are today rejected by the new government. A SYRIZA MP abstained on Wednesday from the ballot in protest of his nomination. Former ND Minister of Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis also abstained in protest. In statements to local media he pointed to the criticism against Pavlopoulos for the mass hirings of civil servants during his term as an Interior Minister (2004-2009) before the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis, as well as for the management of the riots which broke in 2008 after the death of a teenager by police fire in Athens, Xinhua reported.

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