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Greece’s Sixth President Sworn In

March 13, 2005

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Karolos Papoulias, a former foreign minister, was sworn in Saturday as Greece’s sixth president, saying he has inherited a ``great legacy.″

Papoulias, 75, elected last month by parliament, replaces the popular Constantine Stephanopoulos in the largely ceremonial post.

A leading member of the opposition Socialist party, Papoulias was elected with an unprecedented 279 votes in the 300-seat unicameral parliament _ winning support from his own party and from the governing conservatives who nominated him. Papoulias, the only nominee, needed 200 votes to be elected. Failure to elect a president would have led to national elections.

``Knowing that no one is above criticism, I will do my best to live up to my responsibilities in this time of crisis of our institutions and values,″ he said.

Papoulias was a longtime friend and confidant of the late Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou, father of the current opposition leader George Papandreou.

He served as foreign minister twice _ most recently from 1993-96, and played a leading role in Greece’s controversial decision to establish formal ties with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Greece’s presidency was stripped of nearly all executive powers in 1986, when the Socialists amended the constitution and transferred power to the prime minister and parliament.

Papoulias will serve a five-year term.

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On the Net:

Greek President: http://www.presidency.gr

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