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Former Greek President Constantine Stephanopoulos Dead at 90

  • VOA News

FILE - Then-President of Greece Constantine Stephanopoulos is greeted by school children, waving Greek and Australian flags and throwing flower petals, as he arrives at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Sydney, Australia, June 7, 2002.

FILE - Then-President of Greece Constantine Stephanopoulos is greeted by school children, waving Greek and Australian flags and throwing flower petals, as he arrives at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Sydney, Australia, June 7, 2002.

Former Greek president Constantine Stephanopoulos, a veteran conservative politician, has died at age 90.

Stephanopoulos had entered the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens Thursday and his condition deteriorated rapidly. He died late Sunday (11:18 p.m. local time - 2118 UTC) from "complications of pneumonia."

His doctors released a statement Saturday saying he was suffering from multiple organ failure and was not responding to treatment.

Known widely as Costis, Stephanopoulos served two full presidential terms from 1995 to 2005, as allowed by the Constitution.

“A moral man with a lofty vision,'' said leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a conservative, called Stephanopoulos “a model of selfless, dignified and consistent service for the public good.''

Although the president has a largely ceremonial role in Greece, Stephanopoulos won wide popularity with his modesty and lack of bombast while in office.

He was known for getting along well with politicians across the spectrum, especially with moderate socialist prime minister Costas Simitis, whose mandates ran from 1996 to 2004.

A lawyer by profession and a son of a lawyer and politician, Stephanopoulos was born in the southeast city of Patras on August 15, 1926 and held various ministerial portfolios in the right-wing government from 1974 to 1981.

He attempted to run for the presidency of the conservative New Democracy Party (ND) in 1981 and 1985.

In 1995, he was elected president by the parliament, succeeding Constantin Caramanlis, former leader of the ND. Stephanopoulos was re-elected in 2000 and retired from politics at the end of his second term in 2005.

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