Liberal Party (Greece)

The Liberal Party (Greek: Κόμμα Φιλελευθέρων [ˈkoma filelefˈθeɾon] (listen), literally "Party of Liberals") was a major political party in Greece during the early-to-mid 20th century. It was founded in August 1910 by Eleftherios Venizelos and went on to dominate Greek politics for a considerable number of years until its decline following the Second World War. Among its most well-known members, apart from Venizelos, were Alexandros Papanastasiou, Nikolaos Plastiras, Georgios Papandreou and Konstantinos Mitsotakis.

Liberal Party
Κόμμα Φιλελευθέρων
FounderEleftherios Venizelos
Founded22 August 1910[1]
Preceded byNew Party (1873)
Merged intoCenter Union
IdeologyLiberalism[2] (Imperialist)[3]
National liberalism
Greek nationalism[4]
Political positionCentre[5]

Since its founding, the party's emblem had been the anchor, Venizelos had brought with him from Crete.[6]


Founded as the Xipoliton ("barefoot") party in Crete (then an autonomous region of the Ottoman Empire), its early leaders were Kostis Mitsotakis (grandfather of Konstantinos Mitsotakis) and Eleftherios Venizelos. After the annexation of Crete by Greece, Venizelos moved to Athens and turned the party into a national one, under the Fileleftheron (liberal) name in 1910. For the following 25 years, the fate of the party would be tied to that of Venizelos. The party was legally disbanded after the failed coup attempt led by Nikolaos Plastiras of 1935, although the organization remained active.

Caricature of Venizelos with the anchor, symbol of the party

During World War II, a Greek government in exile was formed in Cairo, Egypt, with the assistance of the British. The government was formed almost entirely of prominent Liberals, including Georgios Papandreou and Sophoklis Venizelos, even as King George remained the official head of state.

The party was reformed after the war. By the 1950s, the Liberal Party had lost much of its support and it was eventually merged into the Centre Union, which went on to win the 1963 and 1964 elections. Throughout its existence, the Liberal Party sought to hinder the rise of the Communist Party of Greece which was the only real opposition to the Liberals on their most important electoral basis (the refugees of the New Lands, i.e., lands acquired by Greece following the Balkan Wars and World War I), sometimes with the use of anti-communist legislation.[7][8]

The Liberal Party merged into Center Union (Enosi Kentrou) in 1961, under the leadership of Georgios Papandreou.

In 1980, Eleftherios Venizelos' grandson Nikitas founded a new party under the same name that claims to be the continuation of the original party, see Liberal Party (Greece, modern).


Representing the centrist elements of Greek society, and supported by the middle class and the populations of the New Lands, its main competitor was the People's Party. Increasingly the Liberal Party became associated with anti-monarchism and during the 1920s the Liberals established a republic which they led for most of its short-lived existence. The party carried the ideological legacy of Venizelism.

Electoral resultsEdit

Results, 1910–1958[9][10]
(year links to election page)
Year Type of Election Votes % Mandates
1910 Parliamentary No data
307 / 362
1912 No data
146 / 181
1915 No data
189 / 316
1920 375,803 ?
118 / 369
1923 No data
250 / 398
1926 303,140 31.6
102 / 279
1928 477,502 46.9
178 / 250
1929 Senatorial 450,624 54.6
64 / 120
1932 Parliamentary 391,521 33.4
98 / 250
1932 Senatorial 142,575 39.5
16 / 30
1933 Parliamentary 379,968 33.3
80 / 248
1936 474,651 37.3
126 / 300
1946 159,525 14.4
54 / 376
1950 291,083 17.2
56 / 263
1951 325,390 19.0
74 / 258
1956 No data
38 / 308
1958 795,445 20.7
36 / 300

Prominent membersEdit

(Name, highest office as a party member, year)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Συμπόσιο για τον Ελευθέριο Βενιζέλο. Benaki Museum. 1988. ISBN 9789602010655. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Hatzivassiliou, Evanthis (2010), "Greek Liberalism in the Twentieth Century Dilemmas of Research", The Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy Yearbook 2010, Springer, p. 124
  3. ^ Varnava, Andrekos (2012), "British and Greek Liberalism and Imperialism", Liberal Imperialism in Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 229–235, Venizelist liberalism and imperialism not only was connected to British liberalism and liberal approaches to imperialism, but was also a product of it. Although looking East for territory, Venizelist imperialism looked to unite the "unredeemed Greeks" living in the East under an "orientalist" pre-modern system with the Europe that was (or would be) Modern Greece - western, modern and liberal.
  4. ^ Roudometof, Victor (2002), Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Praeger Publishers, p. 98
  5. ^ The Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy Yearbook 2010. Springer. 2010. ISBN 9783642123740. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  6. ^ Helen Gardikas-Katsiadakis (2006). Eleftherios Venizelos - The Trials of Statesmanship. Edinburgh University Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780748633647.
  7. ^ Yildirim, Onus (2006). Diplomacy and Displacement: Reconsidering the Turco-Greek Exchange of Populations, 1922-1934. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415979825. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  8. ^ Δελτίο Κέντρου Μικρασιατικών Σπουδών. Vol. 9. To Kentro. 1992. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Register of Senators and Deputies" (PDF). National Printing House, Hellenic Parliament. 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Register of Senators and Deputies" (PDF). National Printing House, Hellenic Parliament. 1977. Retrieved 28 February 2013.