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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Elects Papoulias Greek President

ATHENS -- Carolos Papoulias, a former foreign minister who served more than 20 years in parliament, was elected president of Greece by parliament Tuesday.

Papoulias, 75, will be sworn in March 12 as Greece's sixth president since the collapse of the country's military dictatorship in 1974. The post is largely ceremonial.

A leading member of the main opposition Socialist party, Papoulias received a record 279 votes in the 300-seat parliament, winning support from his own party as well as the governing conservative New Democracy party, which had nominated him.

Papoulias was the only candidate running, and needed 200 votes to be elected. There were 17 abstentions, and four deputies were absent from the vote.

He replaces President Costis Stephanopoulos, who ends his term next month after being the only person to serve two consecutive five-year terms in the post. "With respect to the views of all parties and the representatives of the Greek people, I want to thank you for the great honor, which I accept with a feeling of responsibility," Papoulias said after he was informed of the result.

Papoulias was born in the city of Ioannina in 1929 and studied law in Greece and Germany. He was a longtime friend of the late Socialist Andreas Papandreou, the father of opposition leader George Papandreou.

"I am very pleased with the election of Carolos Papoulias," Papandreou said. "I am sure that his presidency will be successful."