Georgios Rallis

Georgios Ioannou Rallis (Greek: Γεώργιος Ιωάννου Ράλλης; 26 December 1918 – 15 March 2006), anglicised to George Rallis, was a Greek conservative politician and the 2nd Prime Minister of Greece from 1980 to 1981.[1]

Georgios Rallis
Γεώργιος Ράλλης
Георгиос Раллис в Люксембурге (29-06-1981).jpg
Rallis in 1981
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
10 May 1980 – 21 October 1981
PresidentKonstantinos Karamanlis
Preceded byKonstantinos Karamanlis
Succeeded byAndreas Papandreou
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
10 May 1978 – 9 May 1980
Prime MinisterKonstantinos Karamanlis
Preceded byPanagis Papaligouras
Succeeded byConstantine Mitsotakis
Personal details
Born(1918-12-26)26 December 1918[1]
Athens, Greece
Died15 March 2006(2006-03-15) (aged 87)
Athens, Greece
Political partyNew Democracy
SpouseLena Rallis (died 2015)
Alma materUniversity of Athens

Ancestors in politicsEdit

George A. Rallis [el], great-grandfather of Georgios Rallis

Georgios was descended from the old, noble and political Rallis family. Alexandros Rallis, born in 1760, was a prominent Phanariote (Greek from Constantinople). In 1849 his son George A. Rallis [el] became Chief Justice of the Greek Supreme Court. Dimitrios Rallis, paternal grandfather of Georgios Rallis, served as Prime Minister of Greece for five separate short periods in 1897, 1903, 1905, 1909 and 1921. Dimitrios' son and Georgios' father, Ioannis Rallis, was a collaborationist Prime Minister from 1943 to 1944, during the German occupation. After the liberation of Greece he was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration and died in jail in 1946. His maternal grandfather, Georgios Theotokis, was four times Prime Minister of Greece, between 1901 and 1907.

Early lifeEdit

Georgios Rallis was born on 26 December 1918[2] in the prestigious Kolonaki district of Athens.

He studied law and political sciences at the University of Athens.[2] Shortly after graduating he joined the fight against fascist Italy after the italian invasion on 28 October 1940 as a cavalry Second Lieutenant of the Reserve.[2] He was recalled to active service during the Greek Civil War of 1946–49, during which he served in the armoured corps.[2]

Political careerEdit

Rallis was first elected to the Greek Parliament as a member of the People's Party in the 1950 general election, and was re-elected in all subsequent elections until the end of his political career in 1993, except the 1958 election and the June 1989 election, where he did not run.[2] He was first appointed a cabinet minister on 11 April 1954 in the government of Alexander Papagos, as Minister for the Presidency of the Government.[2][3]

A close collaborator of Constantine Karamanlis,[2] he retained the position under the first Karamanlis cabinet (6 October 1955 – 29 February 1956),[4] and went on to serve as Minister for Transport and Public Works in the 1956–58 Karamanlis cabinet,[5] and as Minister for the Interior in the 1961–1963 Karamanlis cabinet.[6] He was also among the founding members of the National Radical Union (ERE) in 1956.[2] In 1958, he quarrelled with Karamanlis over the latter's adoption of a new electoral law, on which he had not been consulted, and for a few years left ERE, before returning to the fold in 1961.

Rallis was appointed to the post of Minister for Public Order in the caretaker cabinet of Panagiotis Kanellopoulos on 3 April 1967.[7] It was in this position that the coup d'état of the Colonels found him on 21 April 1967. Rallis managed to evade capture by the putschists and go to the command centre of the Greek Gendarmerie, from where by radio he tried in vain to get in contact with the III Army Corps and order it to descend onto Athens and suppress the coup.[2] Following the establishment of the Junta of the Colonels, he was arrested thrice, imprisoned and sent to internal exile to the island of Kasos. Among his anti-regime activities were his campaigning against the Junta-sponsored Republic referendum of 1973, and his criticism of the regime through his editorship of the magazine Politika Themata.[2]

In 1974, following the fall of the dictatorship, Rallis became briefly Minister for the Interior and then again Minister to the Prime Minister in the national unity government under Karamanlis,[8] and held on to the post (from 2 January 1975 as Minister for the Presidency of the Government) under the government formed by Karamanlis' new party, New Democracy, after the November 1974 election.[9] On 5 January 1976 he also assumed the post of Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs, which he held in tandem with the former post until the end of the cabinet term on 28 November 1977.[9] From the post of Minister for Education he oversaw the educational reform, the institution of the Demotic Greek as the formal language in schools and the administration, replacing the Katharevousa, and the reform of the school curricula.[2]

Following the 1977 election, he served first as Minister for Coordination, before becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs in May 1978.[2][10] He was the first Greek Foreign Minister to visit the Soviet Union, in October 1978, and negotiated Greece's accession to the EEC, signing Greece's accession agreement in May 1979.[2] He also worked to restore relations with Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.

After Karamanlis was elected to the post of President of the Republic, on 8 May 1980 Rallis was elected by New Democracy's parliamentary group as the new party chairman, and was sworn in as Prime Minister on 10 May.[2][11] During his tenure Greece rejoined the military wing of NATO.

Prime Minister Rallis with Foreign Minister Constantine Mitsotakis in Luxembourg on 26 June 1981.

He led the government until his defeat by Andreas Papandreou's PASOK in the 18 October 1981 election, resigning on 21 October.[2][11] Shortly after, in early December, having lost the confidence of his party's MPs, he resigned from the chairmanship of New Democracy.[2]

In May 1987 he split from New Democracy and became an independent MP. He did not participate in the June 1989 election, but after a personal invitation by the new New Democracy chairman, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, he rejoined the party and was elected an MP for Corfu.[2] After a renewed dispute with Mitsotakis, now Prime Minister, over the handling of the Macedonia naming dispute, he resigned from his post and retired from politics in March 1993.[2] During his retirement, Rallis established and cultivated organically-farmed vineyards and olive groves at his family estate on Corfu.

Although Rallis became Prime Minister at a time when the fortunes of his party were in decline, he remained a popular figure because of his well-liked personal attributes of mildness, modesty and straightforwardness. A wealthy patrician by birth, he always made a point of living modestly, walking to work (even as a Prime Minister, much to the frustration of his security detail), and taking the time to greet and talk with those he met on the street. He died of heart failure at his home on 15 March 2006. He is survived by his wife, Lena Rallis (née Voultsou) and their two daughters, Zaira Papaligouras and Joanna Farmakidis.

Rallis spoke English, French, and German, and wrote 14 books.[2]

A bust of Rallis in Corfu was stolen in April 2019.[12]


  1. ^ Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "ΕΚΛΟΓΕΣ 9/2015: Οι πρωθυπουργοί μετά τη Μεταπολίτευση. 1980–1981: ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ ΡΑΛΛΗΣ" (in Greek). 7 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ ΠΑΠΑΓΟΥ - Από 19.11.1952 έως 6.10.1955" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ - Από 6.10.1955 έως 29.2.1956" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ - Από 29.2.1956 έως 5.3.1958" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ - Από 4.11.1961 έως 19.6.1963" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΗ ΚΑΝΕΛΛΟΠΟΥΛΟΥ - Από 3.4.1967 έως 21.4.1967" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ (Κυβέρνησις Εθνικής Ενότητας – De Facto) - Από 24.7.1974 έως 21.11.1974" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ - Από 21.11.1974 έως 28.11.1977" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Κυβέρνησις ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ Γ. ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ - Από 28.11.1977 έως 10.5.1980" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Κυβέρνησις ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΥ Ι. ΡΑΛΛΗ - Από 10.5.1980 έως 21.10.1981" (in Greek). General Secretariat of the Government. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Bust of former Prime Minister Giorgos Rallis stolen!". Enimerosi. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by President of New Democracy
Succeeded by