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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-02-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papoulias informed of his election as 6th President of the Hellenic Republic by parliament president Psarouda-Benaki after
  • [02] Hellenic Festival to celebrate 50th anniversary with star-studded programme
  • [03] Visiting Serbian President Tadic calls on Greek politicians, entrepreneurs to 'build foundations' of strong relations

  • [01] Papoulias informed of his election as 6th President of the Hellenic Republic by parliament president Psarouda-Benaki after parliamentary vote

    Karolos Papoulias was informed by parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki of his election as the new President of the Republic with a record 279 votes by the 300-member House on Tuesday night. He succeeds Costis Stephanopoulos, whose second five-year term ends on March 11.

    Papoulias, the candidate nominated by the New Democracy government and supported by main opposition PASOK was elected Greece's 6th President of the Republic following the restoration of democracy to the country by an overwhelming parliamentary majority of 279 votes on Tuesday evening. Out of the 300-member chamber, 296 MPs voted, while four were absent. Seventeen MPs, 12 from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and five from the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party, declared themselves 'present'

    It is the first time that a candidate for the presidency is elected with a total of 279 votes, breaking Stephanopoulos' record of 269 votes on his re-election on Feb. 8, 2000 out of 298 MPs present.

    After the roll-call election procedure was concluded in parliament, Psarouda-Benaki went to Papoulias' office to inform him of his election.

    Psarouda-Benaki emphasised that Papoulias' five-year term will be filled with important events and developments.

    "European unity will be reinforced with the possible ratification of the European Constitution; national borders and a part of national sovereignty will be limited for the sake of peace, prosperity and security in an enlarged Europe; human and citizen rights will change as new authorities and powers try to protect them or violate them; and democracy will face challenges and may be tried under new forms of governance," Psarouda-Benaki said.

    "Our country will face serious dilemmas in many areas: there are developments under way concerning national issues which require consensus and level-headedness; radical changes on an economic and social level as well as serious decisions must be made in order to improve citizens' quality of life; education and training require a new direction and Greek culture will have to regain its historical status as innovator," she added.

    The parliament president expressed confidence that Papoulias will fulfill his role as President of the Hellenic Republic successfully, armed with "his extensive experience in politics, his professional training, his social sensitivity, and his low-key and modest personality."

    In response, Papoulias, a former foreign minister under PASOK governments and a close associate of the late PASOK founder and former premier Andreas Papandreou, said that Tuesday's outcome in Parliament vindicated the constitutional requirement that calls for consensus in the presidential election.

    "I believe that consensus is an achievement for our political culture and a demand of Greek society on all important issues that concern our country. My interaction with Greek citizens has taught me that political maturity and integrity, sensibility and sensitivity in public life in order to prepare for a better tomorrow for our country and to build a society less selfish and more fair is the collective goal," Papoulias said.

    "With respect for the opinions of all political parties and representatives of the Greek people, I express my sincere gratitude for this great honour, which I accept with a sense of responsibility," he concluded.

    [02] Hellenic Festival to celebrate 50th anniversary with star-studded programme

    Hellenic Festival to celebrate 50th anniversary with star-studded programme

    The Hellenic Festival has chosen to celebrate its 50th anniversary with international artists such as Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Agni Baltsa, Dario Fo, Mikis Theodorakis, Vassilis Papakonstantinou, Peter Stein and others.

    During these 50 years, the Hellenic Festival has acquired "a limited international character with distinguished artists. In order to generate great interest from abroad, long-term relations are necessary," the Festival's General Manager Yiannis Karahissaridis said on Tuesday, as he presented the programme for the Herod Atticus Theatre, the Epidaurus Theatre and "Musical July", which runs from May 20 through October 8.

    Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, present at Tuesday's event, said that the Festival's 50th anniversary will be celebrated at the Herod Atticus Theatre on August 24, with a special ceremony commemorating all those who contributed to the Festival's existence. Former Prime Minister Georgios Rallis will be the guest of honour, who as state minister had signed the decree which founded the Athens Festival.

    [03] Visiting Serbian President Tadic calls on Greek politicians, entrepreneurs to 'build foundations' of strong relations

    Serbian President Boris Tadic, addressing on Tuesday night Greek and Serbian politicians and entrepreneurs, called on Greek entrepreneurs to "build in the foundations of the strong traditional relations between the two countries, quality business relations which will strengthen the economic cooperation between Greece and Serbia".

    He further said his country and he himself is doing everything possible in order for there to be a secure investment climate, that he looks forward exclusively in the European accession of Serbia and that Greece is one of the greatest investors in his country.

    "My vision is for my country to soon acceed to the European Union and to play a major role in the economic development in the Western Balkans," Tadic said.

    His speech was made during a dinner initiating a Greek-Serbian business forum which starts on Wednesday.


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