Constantine Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister has been elected as President of his country.
GV Greek Parliament buildings in Athens
GV Opposition leader Andreas Papandreou arriving, being applauded as seated
GV Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis applauded while taking seat
SV PULL OUT TO GV Parliamentary speaker Papaspyrou announcing start of voting
SV Mr. Karamanlis seated PULL OUT TO GV Members voting (2 shots)
GV Ministers applauding as karamanlis walks to vote and returns
GV Ministers voting
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Constantine Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister has been elected as President of his country. Upon election he promptly resigned the premiership.
SYNOPSIS: He will succeed Constantine Tsatsos whose five-year term will end on 20th June.
Opposition leader, Andreas Papandreou of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), arrives at the parliamentary building for the third and decisive ballot.
Mr. Karamanlis, seen arriving here, failed to get the necessary 200 majority on the first two ballots. On this ballot he only needed 180.
Mr. Karamanlis was the only candidate in the election. Under the constitution, he will not be involved in policy making, but he will be able to block legislation and order referenda on crucial national issues. He can, as President, also dissolve parliament if he believes that the house no longer represents the will of the people.
Mr. Karamanlis drew 183 votes from the 300-member parliament with 174 votes from his own New Democracy (ND) party, and nine votes from other small parties. The 93 deputies of the major opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement refused to vote, and the 11 deputies of the Moscow-oriented Greek Communist party and deputies of smaller parties and Independents either cast blank votes or voted against Mr. Karamanlis. Two deputies were absent.
On Thursday (8 May) the parliamentary caucus will meet to elect its new leader who will then be given the mandate to form a government. Until then Mr. Tsatsos has asked Mr. Karamanlis to say on in a caretaker role.