A referendum on retaining the republic was held in Greece on 8 December 1974. After the collapse of the military junta that ruled the country from 1967, the issue of the form of government remained unsolved. The Junta had already staged a referendum held on 29 July 1973, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic. However, after the fall of the military regime, the new government, under Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis, decided to hold another one, as Junta legal acts were considered void. Constantine II, the former King, was banned by the new government from returning to Greece to campaign in the referendum, but the Karamanlis government allowed him to make a televised address to the nation. The proposal was approved by 69.2% of voters with a turnout of 75.6%.
Results by constituency:
>90–100 % Yes
>80–90 % Yes
>75–80 % Yes
>70–75 % Yes
>65–70 % Yes
>60–65 % Yes
>55–60 % Yes
>50–55 % Yes
>45–50 % Yes / >50–55 % No
>40–45 % Yes / >55–60 % No
>35–40 % Yes / >60–65 % No
The referendum campaign included television debates in which Constantine himself took part on the monarchist side, whilst those debating in favour of the republic included Marios Ploritis, Leonidas Kyrkos, Phaedon Vegleris, George Koumandos, Alexandros Panagoulis and Costas Simitis, who later (from 1996 to 2004) served as Prime Minister of Greece.
Political parties abstained from taking part in the referendum campaign, with the television debates confined to ordinary citizens who represented one side or the other. On 23 November 1974 Prime Minister Karamanlis requested that his parliamentary party group adopt a neutral stance on the issue. Two televised speeches a week were given to each side, with an additional two messages broadcast by the former king; a radio broadcast on 26 November and a television speech on 6 December.
The electorate voted categorically in favour of republic. Crete gave more than 90% of its vote for the republic, whilst in around thirty constituencies the result for republic was around 60–70%. The biggest wins for monarchy were in the Peloponnese and Thrace, with around 45%. The constituencies with the highest votes for a monarchy were Laconia at 59.52%, Rhodope at 50.54%, Messenia with 49.24%, Elis at 46.88% and Argos at 46.67%.
|Source: Nohlen & Stöver|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2015)
With the announcement of the results, Karamanlis said: "A cancer has been removed from the body of the nation today." On 15 December 1974, the incumbent President, Phaedon Gizikis, submitted his resignation, and Karamanlis thanked him with a personal visit and in writing for his services to the country. On 18 December 1974, Michail Stasinopoulos, a state list MP for New Democracy, was elected and sworn in as President of Greece.
In February 1988, Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis stated in an interview given in London that, although he was a republican, the manner in which the referendum was carried out was "unfair". The statement attracted wide criticism in Greece at the time and was debated in the media. For the remainder of his life, and under the pretense of invoking the narrative style reserved for historical reminiscence, Mitsotakis continued to refer to the deposed monarch deferentially, referring to him as the "King" in multiple interviews.
- Steven V. Roberts (9 December 1974). "Greeks Reject Monarchy By Wide Margin of Votes". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
- Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p830 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
- Hope, Kevin. Referendum plan faces hurdles. Financial Times 1 November 2011.
- Nohlen & Stöver, p838
- Kollias, Konstantinos (1984). Βασιλεύς και Επανάστασις 1967. Athens: Αθήναι. p. 115.