Greek political veteran Carolos Papoulias, president at the height of the 2008-09 economic crisis, died on Sunday at the age of 92, the Greek presidency announced.
“With sadness, we send our final greetings to Carolos Papoulias,” Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a statement. “He honored by his ethics and his behavior the highest state institution, vigorously defending social cohesion and national unity,” she added.
Coming from the ranks of the socialist Pasok party, Carolos Papoulias was first elected president in 2005 before being re-elected for a second five-year term in 2010, at the start of the Greek crisis, which plunged the country into political turmoil. most serious economic crisis in decades.
He was then faced with the wrath of the Greeks and his popularity suffered a fatal blow for his support for austerity, dictated by the EU and the IMF. In October 2012, Greece was in the throes of a spiraling debt crisis and unpopular wage cuts. Protesters blocked a national parade in Thessaloniki and chanted “traitor” as President Papoulias, then 83, passed by.
Before leaving the parade with vexation, the latter had not failed to deliver the bottom of his thoughts to the media and the hecklers. “We fought for Greece. I was a resistance fighter at 15, fighting against Nazism and the Germans, ”said the head of state, whose father was a senior army officer who had also fought for Greece.
Carolos Papoulias resistant anti-nazi
Carolos Papoulias was one of the first politicians to give up his salary in solidarity “to the sacrifices of the people”. Born in Ioannina in Epirus (north-west), on June 4, 1929, he was active in the anti-Nazi resistance from 1942 to 1944, when he was only a teenager. After studying law in Athens, Milan (Italy) and Cologne (Germany), he became a lawyer in 1963, a profession he held until 1981, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Andréas Papandréou.
As a teenager, he was a top athlete, national pole vault champion and member of the national volleyball team. During the colonels’ dictatorship (1967-1974), he went into exile in Germany and became one of the co-founders of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) led by Andréas Papandreou.
Member of Parliament from 1977 to 2000, he was twice Foreign Minister in socialist governments (1985-1989 and 1993-1996) and led the pro-Arab and pro-Serbian policy of the Pasok during the Yugoslav war in the years 1990.