Greece Between 1974 and 2009
Under Prime Minister K. Karamanlis (July 1974 – May 1980) Greece returned to the parliamentary-democratic system. In a referendum (December 1974), the population spoke out in favor of maintaining the republican form of government. In June 1975 a new constitution came into force. State presidents 1975–80 were Konstantin Tsatsos (* 1899, † 1987) and 1980–85 Karamanlis (both: »New Democracy«, ND). 1980/81 G. Rallis exercised the office of head of government. With effect from January 1, 1981, Greece became a full member of the EC. After the parliamentary elections of October 1981, the conservative ND, led by Karamanlis, had to go In 1974 and (despite heavy losses) in 1977 he had won an absolute majority, relinquished government responsibility to the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). Its chairman, A. Papandreu , became Prime Minister (1981-89) and promised reforms (partially implemented, e.g. introduction of civil marriage; social improvements). In March 1985 the National Assembly elected Christos Sartzetakis (* 1929, non-party) to the President. The parliamentary elections in June 1985 were followed by draconian austerity measures by the re-elected PASOK government in October of the same year, which resulted in serious social unrest (general strike in November 1985). In 1988, the public accusation that leading members of PASOK and ministers of the government it provided were involved in the bribery affair involving the former director of the Bank of Crete and publisher Giorgios Koskotas sparked a crisis in the cabinet under Prime Minister A. Papandreu and conjured up a prolonged domestic political instability; Only after three parliamentary elections (in June and November 1989 and April 1990) and two short-lived governments (July to November 1989 coalition government of ND and the United Left and November 1989 to February 1990 all-party government) did a narrow governable majority of the conservative ND come in April 1990 under its chairman K. Mitsotakis, who was Prime Minister 1990–93. On May 4, 1990, Parliament elected Karamanlis for the second timeas President (in office until 1995).
The Mitsotakis government initiated a rehabilitation program, including the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the removal of subsidies for unprofitable enterprises, price increases for public services, savings in the pension system, the reduction of the inflation rate, investments in infrastructure and the promotion of exports; The unions called general strikes in August and September 1992 to protest the social consequences of this policy. Against this background, PASOK won the parliamentary elections of October 1993 and again stood with Papandreu the Prime Minister. His government announced the withdrawal of the privatization program and declared the fight against inflation (1993: 14.4%), recession and unemployment to be its main goals. In April 1994, Parliament decided on the expropriation and expatriation of the former King Constantine II (who had lived in exile in London since 1967) and his family. On March 8, 1995, K. Stephanopulos was elected President. In January 1996 Simitis succeeded Prime Minister Papandreu, who had resigned due to serious illness; after his death (June 1996) became Simitis in July also party chairman of PASOK (until 7.1.2004), which again won the early parliamentary elections on 22.9.1996 (confirmation by the Simitis government). In the April 2000 elections, the PASOK government was re-elected (albeit narrowly). On February 8, 2000, President Stephanopulos was also re-elected. Because Simitis resigned from office (7.1.2004), the parliamentary elections had to be brought forward; on March 7, 2004 the conservative ND became the strongest party; its chairman Karamanlis was then elected as the new prime minister. Surprisingly, he beat K. Papulias for the election of the new president in December 2004 by the opposition PASOK, which was elected in February 2005. The early parliamentary elections on September 16, 2007 confirmed Karamanlis, who, with his conservative ND, remained the strongest party, could continue to rule alone. After the death of a 15-year-old schoolchildren who was hit by a bullet from a police weapon, unrest and rioting broke out in many Greek cities in December 2008. This was accompanied by protests against the government’s educational, economic and social policies. Against the background of the international economic and financial crisis and in view of the poor poll results for the government, early parliamentary elections were held on October 4, 2009, which PASOK under the leadership of G. Papandreu clearly won.