Constantine Mitsotakis

Constantine Mitsotakis was born October 18, 1918 in Chania, Crete from a political family. His father and grandfathers were members of parliament, and the great liberal leader Eleutherios Venizelos was his uncle. As a young man he took part in the Cretan resistance against the German occupation. He graduated in law and economics from the University of Athens and was elected to the Greek Parliament in 1946.

Mitsotakis was a traditional Greek liberal, and a member of George Papandreou's Centre Union party. In 1965 he led the group of dissidents known as the "July apostates" who left the party which caused the Center Union to lose its majority and the government to fall, leading to the junta of 1967 in which he and a number of other politicians were arrested. He left Greece and lived in exile until 1974 when the dictatorship fell. In the first elections he failed to get elected but in 1977 was elected in the Party of New Liberals. In 1978 he joined Karmanlis' New Democracy party and served as Minister for Economic Coordination and Minister of Foreign Affairs. After the rise of Andrea's Papandreou's PASOK party and the defeat of New Democracy, Mitsotakis was chosen to lead New Democracy. Papandreou had never forgiven Mitsotakis for the betrayal of his father and the two were as bitter enemies as Greek politics have ever seen. When his party finally wins the election in 1989, Papandreou had changed the rules which make it impossible for a party to govern without a majority. Unable to form a viable coalition new elections are held and New Democracy wins a small majority. His government cuts government spending, reforms the civil service, and privatises some state owned industry. He improves ties with NATO and the US which had deteriorated under Papandreou.

In 1992 Antonios Samaras and several members of New Democracy leave the party over the handling of the Macedonian-FYROM name issue causing the collapse of the Mitsotakis government, the same way George Papandreou's government had collapsed thirty years before. Mitsotakis then resigned as ND leader, although he remained the party's honorary chairman. Mitsotakis daughter is Dora Bakoyianni, the mayor of Athens.

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