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Constantine Tsatsos, 88; First President of Greek Republic

October 09, 1987|From Times Wire Services

ATHENS — Constantine Tsatsos, a philosopher who became the first president of the Greek Republic in 1975, died of heart failure Thursday, family sources said.

The former university professor and deputy parliamentarian at-large was 88.

Tsatsos was born in Athens and educated at Athens University and in Heidelberg, Germany, where he received a doctorate in philosophy and law. He returned to Athens in 1932 and became a professor of philosophy at Athens University.

Involved in Resistance

Tsatsos was involved in the Greek resistance during World War II and entered politics after the liberation of Greece from German occupation.

Between 1945 and 1975, he served in numerous government posts, including minister of culture and sciences, and never missed a parliamentary election. Tsatsos also was chairman of the parliamentary committee that prepared Greece's republican constitution in 1975.

He was elected the first president of the republic after a December, 1974, referendum abolished the Greek monarchy. He left office in 1980.

Tsatsos published more than 20books on philosophy, history and law along with translations from ancient Greek writers. For his literary work he became a member of the Athens Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961, and a member of the French Academy in 1979.

He was succeeded as president by Constantine Caramanlis for whom Tsatsos was both a close friend and a loyal political lieutenant. "Whatever I say," Caramanlis said Thursday, "cannot be equal to the man, and definitely not equal to the admiration I had for him."

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