Konstantinos Mitsotakis

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Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Κωνσταντίνος Μητσοτάκης
Mitsotakis 1992.jpg
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
11 April 1990 – 13 October 1993
President Christos Sartzetakis
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Preceded by Xenophon Zolotas
Succeeded by Andreas Papandreou
Minister of the Aegean
In office
8 August 1991 – 13 October 1993
Preceded by George Misailidis (el)
Succeeded by Kostas Skandalidis
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
10 May 1980 – 21 October 1981
Preceded by George Rallis
Succeeded by Ioannis Charalambopoulos
In office
14 April 1992 – 7 August 1992
Preceded by Antonis Samaras
Succeeded by Michalis Papakonstantinou
Minister of Coordination
In office
17 September 1965 – 22 December 1966
Preceded by Dimitrios Papaspirou (el)
Succeeded by Ioannis Paraskevopoulos
In office
10 May 1978 – 10 May 1980
Preceded by George Rallis
Succeeded by Ioannis Boutos (el)
Personal details
Born (1918-10-18) 18 October 1918 (age 97)
Halepa village, Chania, Crete, Greece
Nationality Greek
Political party Liberal (1946–1961)
Center Union (1961–1974)
Independent (1974–1977)
New Liberal (1977–1978)
New Democracy (1978–present)
Spouse(s) Marika Mitsotakis (1953-2012)
Children Kyriakos, Dora, Alexandra, Katerina
Alma mater National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer
Religion Greek Orthodox

Konstantinos Mitsotakis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Μητσοτάκης Konstantinos Mitsotakis [konstaˈdinos mit͡soˈtacis]; born 31 October [O.S. 18 October] 1918) is a Greek politician and former Prime Minister of Greece. He graduated in law and economics from the University of Athens.

Family and personal life[edit]

Mitsotakis was born inside an already powerful political family, linked to Eleftherios Venizelos on both sides. His grandfather Kostis Mitsotakis (el) (1845-1898), a lawyer, journalist and short-time MP of Ottoman Crete, founded the Liberal Party, then "Party of the Barefeet" (Κόμματος των Ξυπολήτων) with Venizelos, and married the latter's sister, Katigo Venizelou, Constantine's grandmother. The 1878 Pact of Halepa, granting a Ottoman Crete a certain level of autonomy, was signed in his very home. His son Kyriakos Mitsotakis (1883–1944) (el), also MP for Chania in the Greek Parliament (1915-20) and leader of the Cretan volunteers in the First Balkan War, married Stavroula Ploumidaki, daughter of Charalambos Ploumidakis (el), the first Christian mayor of Chania and an MP at the time of the Cretan State, himself a first cousin of Eleftherios Venizelos.[1]

Mitsotakis was married to Marika Mitsotakis (née Giannoukou) from 1953 until her death on 6 May 2012.[2][3] They had four children.[3] His son, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is the leader of ND since January 2016 (a position previously held by Konstantinos Mitsotakis), and was a government minister in 2013-15. His daughter, Dora Bakoyannis, ND Member of Parliament, founder and president of Democratic Alliance party, was the mayor of Athens (2003-2006) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009.

Mitsotakis's main interest outside politics is Cretan antiquities. He developed a large collection of Minoan and other Cretan antiquities, which he has now donated to the Greek state. On 9 January 2007, Mitsotakis had a double bypass surgery at Onassio Heart Center in Athens.

Venizelos/Mitsotakis family tree[edit]

Political background[edit]

He was elected to the Greek Parliament for the first time in 1946, standing for the Liberal Party in his native prefecture of Chania, Crete. He followed most of the old Liberal Party into Georgios Papandreou's Center Union in 1961. But in 1965 he led a group of dissidents, known as the "July apostates" or "apostasia", who crossed the floor to bring about the fall of Papandreou's government (el), which earned him the long-time hatred of Papandreou loyalists as well as a significant part of Greek society. He was arrested in 1967 by the military junta but managed to escape to Turkey with a help of Foreign minister of Turkey Ihsan Sabri Caglayangil and lived in exile in Paris, France, until his return in 1974.

In 1974 he campaigned as an independent and failed to be elected to Parliament. He was re-elected in 1977 as founder-leader of the small Party of New Liberals and in 1978 he merged his party with Constantine Karamanlis's New Democracy party. He served as minister for economic coordination from 1978 to 1980, and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1980 to 1981.

The ND (New Democracy) government was defeated by Andreas Papandreou's PASOK in 1981, and in 1984 Mitsotakis succeeded Evangelos Averoff as ND leader. He and Andreas Papandreou, the son of George Papandreou, dominated Greek politics for the next decade: their mutual dislike dated back to the fall of George Papandreou's government in 1965.

Mitsotakis soundly defeated Papandreou, embroiled in the Bank of Crete scandal, in the June 1989 election. PASOK lost 36 seats in one of the largest defeats of a sitting government in modern Greek history. However, in a controversial move, Papandreou's government had modified the election system a few months earlier to require a party to win 50 percent of the vote in order to govern alone. Thus, Mitsotakis was unable to form a government even though ND was the clear first-place party, with 20 more seats than PASOK. He was unable to garner support from the six MPs he needed to form a government, so Court of Cassation president Yiannis Grivas became acting prime minister and presided over new elections in November 1989. This election yielded the same result as in June. ND finished 20 seats ahead of PASOK, but was still just short of forming a government.

After another period of deadlock, fresh elections in April 1990 produced another landslide ND victory, but left Mitsotakis unable to govern alone. After the lone MP from Democratic Renewal agreed to go into coalition, Mitsotakis finally became Prime Minister. Thus, despite winning one of the most decisive victories in modern Greek history (27 seats ahead of PASOK), Mitsotakis' government was very weak on paper, with a majority of only one vote.

Mitsotakis's government moved swiftly to cut government spending as much as possible, privatise state enterprises and reform the civil service. In foreign policy, Mitsotakis moved to reopen talks on American bases in Greece and to restore confidence among Greece's economic and political partners. In June 1990, Mitsotakis became the first Greek Premier to visit the United States since the Metapolitefsi. He promised to meet Greece's NATO obligations, to prevent use of Greece as a base for terrorism, and to stop the rhetorical attacks on the United States that had been Papandreou's hallmark. Mitsotakis also supported a new dialogue with Turkey, but made progress on the Cyprus dispute a prerequisite for improvement on other issues.

Mitsotakis in 2008.

Papandreou, cleared of charges arising from the Bank of Crete scandal in a 7–6 vote at the Eidiko Dikastirio (Special Court), criticised Mitsotakis's government for its economic policies, for not taking a sufficiently strict position over the naming dispute with the newly independent former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as over Cyprus, and for being too pro-American. The heightened public irritation over the Macedonia naming issue caused several ND parliament members, led by Antonis Samaras, to withdraw their support from Mitsotakis's government and form a new political party, Political Spring (Πολιτική Άνοιξη , Politiki Anixi). Mitsotakis's government had already restored the election system back to its original form, which allowed Papandreou's PASOK to obtain clear parliamentary majority after winning the premature 1993 elections and return to office. Mitsotakis then resigned as ND leader, although he remained the party's honorary chairman.

In January 2004 Mitsotakis announced that he would retire from Parliament at the 7 March election, 58 years after his first election.

Honours[edit]

  • On 6 January 1992, he was appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), at the time Australia's highest civilian honour, "for eminent service to Australian/Greek relations".[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography - Roots". Retrieved 2015-12-23. 
  2. ^ Papapostolou, Anastasios (2012-05-06). "Former First Lady of Greece Marika Mitsotakis Dies at 82". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  3. ^ a b Papapostolou, Anastasios (2012-05-06). "Marika Mitsotakis, wife of former Greek PM, dies Dies at 82". Associated Press (Boston.com). Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  4. ^ Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography - Roots". Retrieved 2015-12-23. 
  5. ^ Stavroula Ploumidaki is also a first cousin, once removed, of Eleftherios Venizelos
  6. ^ It's an Honour: AC

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George Rallis
Minister for Foreign Affairs
1980 – 1981
Succeeded by
Ioannis Charalambopoulos
Preceded by
Xenophon Zolotas
Prime Minister of Greece
1990 – 1993
Succeeded by
Andreas Papandreou
Preceded by
Antonis Samaras
Minister for Foreign Affairs
1992
Succeeded by
Michalis Papakonstantinou
Party political offices
Preceded by
Evangelos Averoff
President of New Democracy
1984 – 1993
Succeeded by
Miltiadis Evert