President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou at the reception for the 48th anniversary of the Restoration of Democracy in the garden of the Presidential Mansion on July 24. (Photo: Yiannis Panagopoulos/ EUROKINISSI)
ATHENS – This year, the reception for the 48th anniversary of the Restoration of Democracy in the garden of the Presidential Mansion on July 24 was upgraded with an expanded guest list representing a wider range of citizens, symbolizing the openness to society.
The intention of President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou was to give the opportunity to representatives of Civil Society and vulnerable social groups to attend this year’s reception, emphasizing that “democracy is not only about the organization of the State, but also about our non-negotiable way of life” and putting into practice her conviction, that “in democracy there are no visible and invisible citizens, people and collectives without voice and representation, trapped in discrimination and stereotypes.” On the contrary, there are “only incentives and equal opportunities for everyone, for improvement and extroversion, away from the inaction and distortions of the past.”
In particular, the reception for the 48th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Republic was attended by people from the Arts and Letters (provosts, academics, distinguished painters, directors, music composers, performers, writers), pioneering scientists in the fields of Environment, Health, Genetics, and Biology, distinguished professionals from the productive sector of the economy, entrepreneurs and shipowners, residents of our critical islands and students who excelled in the Panhellenic Examinations, Roma who broke the ban, refugees and migrants, representatives of women’s organizations and social welfare structures, people with disabilities, executives of non-governmental organizations, as well as Canadair pilots, who are daily on the front line of aerial firefighting and demonstrate heroism and self-sacrifice in the performance of duty.
President Sakellaropoulou’s conversations with the parents of the deceased Aris fan Alkis Kampanos, with the young refugee from Guinea Saidu Kamara, and with Kouros Nurmohamadi Baigi, a young refugee from Iran who aced the Panhellenic exams, were touching.
There were also more resistance fighters this year, while the relaxation of health protocols made it possible to invite, in addition to the political party leaders and the Speaker of the Parliament, all members of Parliament, Government Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and European Parliament members, who could not attend the previous two years due to coronavirus, were present.
Like every year, this year, too, saw no shortage of political debates.
Speaking to journalists, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ruled out the possibility of early elections and reshuffling, urging everyone to go on holiday comfortably. However, he emphasized that “we will continue the sessions” and added jokingly that “it will be seen who has the best political fitness.”
Speaking about the energy crisis and the possibility of an emergency summit, he argued that for its convergence, “there should also be a real objective,” adding that we are making many moves at the EU level for the 15%.
Referring to the discussion of the political party leaders together with the President of the Republic at the garden pavilion, he noted with humor that “the only one who was in the mood to talk was Koutsoumpas” General Secretary of the Communist Party in Greece, but the KKE leader replied that “I have a mouth but no words.”
The Prime Minister then had a short conversation with the athletes of the Men’s National Water Polo Team and their coach, with whom he took a photo and wished them success. Mitsotakis also had a friendly discussion with the new U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis.
For his part, SYRIZA President Alexis Tsipras, speaking to journalists, referred to his quick recovery from the coronavirus, noting at the same time that he was asymptomatic.
President of PASOK/Movement for Change Nikos Androulakis said that on August 15 he plans to go to Montreal, Canada, for meetings with the diaspora.
President of the Hellenic Solution Kyriakos Velopoulos was absent from the event for the Restoration of Democracy, but was represented by MP Vasilis Viliardos, while General Secretary of the MeRA 25 party Yanis Varoufakis was also present.
Also among the guests were Judge Maria Lepenioti, president of the court in the trial of Golden Dawn; geneticist Emmanouil Dermitzakis, who heads the Genetics and Genomics Institute in Geneva; Dr. Christos Kyratsous, who is head of research in infectious diseases and viral vector technologies at Regeneron; space exploration scientist Dr. Stamatios Krimigis; Gavdos Mayor Lilian Stefanaki, Halki pharmacist Panagiotis Patelis; and the family of volunteer fire fighter Vasilis Filoras, who was killed fighting a fire in Ippokratio Politia in 2021.
Earlier on the 48th anniversary since the restoration of democracy, President Sakellaropoulou laid a wreath at the bust of Spyros Moustaklis, a resistance fighter who opposed the 1967-1974 junta. The president attended an event to honor the heroes of the struggle against the seven-year dictatorship at the former EAT-ESA jail in Eleftherias Park, where she laid the wreath.
She was received by Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and the president of the junta resistance fighters’ association, Evangelos Giougkis.
ATHENS – More than 30 million tourists with money to burn and free from COVID-19 restrictions are expected in Greece in 2023 in a push for all-out development but most Greeks will be sitting at home watching them.
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