Konstantinos Mitsotakis

Konstantinos Mitsotakis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Μητσοτάκης, Konstantínos Mitsotákis [konstaˈdinos mit͡soˈtacis]; 31 October [O.S. 18 October] 1918 – 29 May 2017) was a Greek politician who was Prime Minister of Greece from 1990 to 1993. He graduated in law and economics from the University of Athens. His son, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was elected as the Prime Minister of Greece following the 2019 Greek legislative election.

Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Κωνσταντίνος Μητσοτάκης
Mitsotakis 1992.jpg
Konstantinos Mitsotakis in 1992
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
11 April 1990 – 13 October 1993
PresidentChristos Sartzetakis
Konstantinos Karamanlis
Preceded byXenophon Zolotas
Succeeded byAndreas Papandreou
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
14 April 1992 – 7 August 1992
Preceded byAntonis Samaras
Succeeded byMichalis Papakonstantinou
In office
10 May 1980 – 21 October 1981
Prime MinisterGeorgios Rallis
Preceded byGeorge Rallis
Succeeded byIoannis Charalambopoulos
Minister of the Aegean
In office
8 August 1991 – 13 October 1993
Preceded byGeorge Misailidis [el]
Succeeded byKostas Skandalidis
Minister of Coordination
In office
10 May 1978 – 10 May 1980
Prime MinisterKonstantinos Karamanlis
Preceded byGeorge Rallis
Succeeded byIoannis Boutos [el]
In office
17 September 1965 – 22 December 1966
Prime MinisterStefanos Stefanopoulos
Preceded byDimitrios Papaspirou [el]
Succeeded byIoannis Paraskevopoulos
Personal details
Born(1918-10-18)18 October 1918
Halepa, Kingdom of Greece
Died29 May 2017(2017-05-29) (aged 98)
Athens, Greece
Political partyLiberal (1946–1961)
Centre Union (1961–1974)
Independent (1974–1977)
New Liberal (1977–1978)
New Democracy (1978–2017)
Spouse(s)Marika Mitsotakis (m. 1953–2012; her death)
Alma materUniversity of Athens
Nickname(s)"The tall one"[1]

Family and personal lifeEdit

Mitsotakis was born on 31 October 1918[2][3] in Halepa suburb, Chania, Crete, into an already powerful political family, linked to the distinguished statesman Eleftherios Venizelos on both sides. His grandfather Kostis Mitsotakis [el] (1845–1898), a lawyer, journalist and short-time MP of then Ottoman-ruled Crete, founded the Liberal Party, then "Party of the Barefeet" (Κόμμα των Ξυπολήτων) with Venizelos, and married the latter's sister, Katigo Venizelou, Constantine's grandmother. The 1878 Pact of Halepa, granting an Ottoman Crete a certain level of autonomy, was signed in his very home. His father Kyriakos Mitsotakis (senior)  [el] (1883–1944), also MP for Chania in the Greek Parliament (1915–20) and leader of the Cretan volunteers fighting with the Greek army 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.[4]

Mitsotakis was married to Marika Mitsotakis (née Giannoukou) from 1953 until her death on 6 May 2012.[5][6] They had four children.[6] His son, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is the Prime Minister of Greece and since January 2016 leader of the conservative New Democracy party (a position previously held by Mitsotakis), and was a government minister in 2013–15. His first 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. His second daughter Alexandra Mitsotakis Gourdain is a Greek civil society activist. His third daughter is Katerina Mitsotakis.

Mitsotakis's interests outside politics included Cretan antiquities and a passion for preserving the environment. He developed a large collection of Minoan and other Cretan antiquities, which he and his wife donated to the Greek state. He was also very interested in promoting reforesting of Greece, including in particular the mountains of Crete.

Venizelos/Mitsotakis family treeEdit

Main members of the Venizelos/Mitsotakis/Bakoyannis family.[7] Prime Ministers of Greece are highlighted in light blue.
Kyriakos Venizelos [la]
Styliani Ploumidaki
Eleftherios Venizelos
Katingo Venizelou
Constantine "Costis" Mitsotakis [el]
Kyriakos Venizelos [el]
Sofoklis Venizelos
Kyriakos Mitsotakis [el]
Stavroula Ploumidaki[8]
Nikitas Venizelos
Konstantinos Mitsotakis
Marika Giannoukou
Pavlos Bakoyannis
Dora Bakoyannis
née Mitsotaki
(b. 1954)
Kyriakos Mitsotakis
(b. 1968)
Kostas Bakoyannis
(b. 1978)

Political careerEdit

Mitsotakis 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", 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 Turkish foreign minister İhsan Sabri Çağlayangil and lived in exile with his family in Paris, France, until his return to Greece in 1974, following the restoration of democracy.

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

The ND 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 Georgios Papandreou, dominated Greek politics for the next decade: their mutual dislike dated back to the fall of Georgios 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 just two months earlier, to require a party to win 50 percent of the vote in order to govern alone. Thus, even though ND was the clear first-place party, with 20 more seats than PASOK, it only won 44 percent of the vote, leaving it six seats short of a majority.

After Mitsotakis failed to garner enough support to form a government, Court of Cassation president Yannis 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 only won 46.2 percent of the vote and came up three seats short of a majority. Former Bank of Greece president Xenophon Zolotas became interim prime minister and presided over fresh elections in April 1990. The result was the same as the two 1989 elections. ND won a landslide victory, finishing 27 seats ahead of PASOK. However, Mitsotakis was still unable to govern alone, as ND won 150 seats, one short of a majority. Finallay, the lone MP from Democratic Renewal agreed to a coalition with ND, allowing Mitsotakis to form government by one seat.

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 took the initiative to have Greece formally recognize the state of Israel, and 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 1974. He promised to meet Greece's NATO obligations, to prevent the 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 Republic of Macedonia (Mitsotakis favored a composite name such as "Nova Macedonia", for which he was accused at the time of being too lenient) 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' government restored the pre-1989 electoral system, which allowed Papandreou's PASOK to obtain a 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.


Mitsotakis died on 29 May 2017 in Athens, aged 98 of natural causes[9][10][11] His state funeral was held on 31 May 2017.[12][13]



  1. ^ https://www.newgreektv.com/news-in-english-for-greeks/greece/item/31211-mitsotakis-photo-with-austrian-chancellor-goes-viral-due-to-height
  2. ^ Eleni Panagiotarea (30 July 2013). Greece in the Euro: Economic Delinquency or System Failure?. ECPR Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-907301-53-7.
  3. ^ "Ίδρυμα Κωνσταντίνος Κ. Μητσοτάκης - Ρίζες - Νεανικά Χρόνια - Αντίσταση". www.ikm.gr.
  4. ^ Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography - Roots". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  5. ^ Papapostolou, Anastasios (6 May 2012). "Former First Lady of Greece Marika Mitsotakis Dies at 82". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b Papapostolou, Anastasios (6 May 2012). "Marika Mitsotakis, wife of former Greek PM, dies Dies at 82". Boston.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 26 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Constantine Mitsotakis institute. "Biography – Roots". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  8. ^ Stavroula Ploumidaki is also a first cousin, once removed, of Eleftherios Venizelos
  9. ^ "Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis dies aged 98". 29 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Constantine Mitsotakis, Who Forged Greek-EU Ties, Dies at 98". 29 May 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  11. ^ https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/29/world/europe/constantine-mitsotakis-dead-greece-prime-minister-in-90s.html
  12. ^ Makris, A. "Thousands Attend Konstantinos Mitsotakis' Funeral Service in Athens - GreekReporter.com".
  13. ^ "Funeral Service for Constantine Mitsotakis at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens: (Video & Photo Gallery) - The National Herald". www.thenationalherald.com.
  14. ^ "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". www.itsanhonour.gov.au.

Further readingEdit

  • Wilsford, David, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp. 318–23.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Coordination
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Coordination
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Coordination
Succeeded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of the Aegean
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by President of New Democracy
Succeeded by