Thessaloniki, April 23, 1998





_Athens, 23/04/1998 (MPA)_

Konstantinos Karamanlis died at 1.40 am today April 23, 1998 at the age of 92. With this statement his close associate Mr. Petros Moliviatis formally announced a short while ago the sad news of the death of the politician who marked with his strong presence Greece's political life for the past five decades.

Konstantinos Karamanlis was fighting for his life for over 10 days at the medical center "Hygeia" and according to his doctors he died of heart failure.


_Athens, 23/04/1998 (MPA)_

Prime minister of Greece from October 1955 to November 1963 and from July 1974 to May 1980. He served two terms in the presidency of the Greek Republic. The first term lasted from May 1980 to May 1985, when he was succeeded by Christos Sargetakis, and the second from May 1990 to May 1995.

He was born in the village of Proti in the prefecture of Serres, in northern Greece on February 23, 1907. He studied law and worked as a lawyer in the city of Serres. He entered politics in 1935 when he was elected in Parliament as a deputy of the Popular Party in the constituency of Serres. He was re-elected in 1936. During the dictatorship of Metaxas and the German occupation he withdrew from politics and after the liberation he entered politics again. In the elections of 1946 and 1950 he was elected in Parliament as a Popular Party deputy. He left the Popular Party to join Papagos' Ellinikos Sinegermos and under its banner was elected Parliament deputy in the constituency of Serres in 1951 and in 1952.

In the period of 1946-1952 he held many ministerial posts. He became labor minister in the Tsaldaris government on November 24, 1946 until the end of February 1947. In 1948 he became transport minister in the Sofoulis government and then social welfare minister until January 1950. In the period of January-November 1950 he held the ministry of national defense in the Sofoklis Venizelos government. In the Alexandros Papagos government he was minister of public works.

In 1955 he was appointed prime minister by the then King Pavlos to replace the dying Papagos. Within four months he founded the National Radical Union ( "Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosi" or ERE) and was joined by 190 Parliament deputies. As the leader of ERE he won three election races in 1956, 1958 and 1961 and remained prime minister until November 1963. In the November 3, 1963 elections, ERE was defeated by Georgios Papandreou's Center Union ("Enosis Kentrou") after the accusations made against the party on the murder case of leftist Parliament deputy Grigoris Lambrakis. Karamanlis resigned from the ERE leadership and left for Paris where he stayed as a private individual for 11 years until the political changeover.

He returned to Greece in July 1974 after the collapse of the seven-year dictatorship of the colonels and led a national unity government as prime minister. In the November 1974 elections his New Democracy party ("Nea Dimokratia") won the race with 54% of the vote and in the 1978 elections he was triumphant again with 41%. One of the first decisions made by Karamanlis after the political changeover was the legalization of the Greek Communist Party, the restitution of the Greek nationality for thousands of political refugees who returned to Greece and the rapprochement with most Balkan states. In the period 1975-1978, Karamanlis visited all the countries of the then Eastern Block, while in October 1979 he visited the Soviet Union and in November of the same year went to China. He made similar openings toward the countries of the Arab world as well.

However, the most significant achievement of Konstantinos Karamanlis was the accession of Greece into the European Economic Community which took place in May 1979 and the country's re-accession into NATO that was completed in October 1980.

[01] Stetesman Karamanlis dies at 91

[02] Simitis

[03] Karamanlis' political career spanned five decades

[04] President Stephanopoulos begins official visit to Hungary

[01] Stetesman Karamanlis dies at 91

Athens 23/04/1998 (ANA)

Elderly former Greek President of the Republic Constantine Karamanlis, the statesman who guided Greece into European Community membership, died today at 01.40 at the Athens Ygeia hospital of natural causes. He was 91.

Karamanlis, who was hospitalised two weeks ago with a lung infection, died of a heart attack without recovering consciousness.

His close friend and former diplomatic adviser Petros Molyviatis announced his death to reporters at 2:00 am. saying: "The president died today April 23, at 1:40 after a heart attack".

The elderly statesman, whose political career spanned five decades, founded the New Democracy party following his triumphant return to Greece from self- imposed exile in Paris in the wake of the collapse of a seven-year military dictatorship in July 1974 .

Karamanlis, who served as his country's prime minister four times and was twice head of state, ordered a referendum in December 1974 in which 70 percent of the electorate voted for the abolition of the monarchy and the setting up of a presidential repub lic in its stead.

His nephew, Costas Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition New Democracy party said in a statement:

"Constantine Karamanlis, the great and inspired leader, whose creative work changed Greece's destiny has entered history.

"The vision and principles of our (party's) founder will always inspire and guide us."

After Karamanlis' death was known, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and Health Minister Costas Geitonas arrived at the hospital to convey Prime Minister Costas Simitis' condolences, as they said.

Former Prime Minister and honourary president of New Democracy party Constantine Mitsotakis praised in a statement Karamanlis' "eminent" role in Greek politics in the second half of the century.

"Constantine Karamanlis played a decisive role in achieving three great post-war goals for Greece: the nation's recovery from poverty, the restoration of democracy after 1974, the best ever in the country, and Greece's accession to the European Union," Mr. Mitsotakis said.

"Karamanlis' achievements were acknowledged by the entire Greek people," Mr. Mitsotakis added.

Athens News Agency

[02] Simitis

Athens 23/04/1998 (ANA)

In a statement prime minister Costas Simitis said the late statesman "left his seal indelible in Greece in the last five decades, and played a leading role in the bloodless transition from dictatorship to democracy by restoring the democratic institutions and establishing equality before law for all Greeks."

Mr. Simitis said that "Kara-manlis' tireless efforts in guiding Greece to the European Union, placed the country in the right position it deserved within the family of the European states."

"Karamanlis broke Greece's international isolation resulting from the seven- year dictatorship and broadened its international horizons. He substantially contributed in normalising Greece's relations with its Balkan neighbours consolidating a climate of peace, friendship, stability and cooperation in the wider region."

"For a decade," Mr. Simitis went on, "Karamanlis, as a president of the republic attached particular importance both in the country's international relations and domestic politics."

"The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the government and I personally pay our utmost hommage to him, the politician who dominated the country's post-war history".

Athens News Agency

[03] Karamanlis' political career spanned five decades

Athens 23/04/1998 (ANA)

Eminent Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis was born in 1907 in Proti, near Serres, northern Greece, the first of four sons and three daughters of Georgios Karamanlis, a teacher and later tobacco grower, and Fotini Dologlou.

He arrived to Athens in 1923, and graduated from the Athens University Law School in 1929. He enlisted in the 30th Infantry Regiment in Serres in 1930, but was discahrged four months later due to a hearing impediment.

Mr. Karamanlis was elected to parliament for the first time in 1935 as an MP for the Peoples Party from the Serres region, and was re-elected in 1936, but after the August 4 dictatorship was imposed he returned to Serres and started practicing law.

In 1941, the year of the Nazi occupation of Greece, he settled in Athens and became a member of the Athens Bar Association, and a year later, together with Constantine Tsatsos, Xenophon Zolotas and Georgios Mavros formed an intellectual group concered over the future of the country. The group dissolved three years later.

In 1944, Mr. Karamanlis secretly left occupied Greece and reached Cairo via Turkey and Syria and from there to Alexandria (October 1944). Upon arrival he learned that Athens had been liberated, and returned to Greece.

In 1946 he was elected again to Parliament as a deputy on a conservative ticket P formerly People's Party (Laiko Komma) - from Serres. The same year he travelled to the United States and underwent successful surgery for a hearing problem and, while there, was appointed a member of the financial mission led by Sophocles Venizelos, then applying for US aid for the restoration of damages suffered by Greece during the war. Under the aid package, Washington granted Greece 100 "Liberty" ships, which served as the basis for the reconstruction of the Greek merchant fleet.

Upon his return to Greece in November of that year, he was appointed to a government post for the first time, becoming minister of labour in the Panayis Tsaldaris government. He retained the post until a January 1947 reshuffle, and after Dimitrios Maxim os took over as premier.

In May 1948 he was appointed transports minister in the Sofoulis government, and took over the social security ministry in November that year, where he stayed for two years.

During the 1950 elections, he was re-elected to Parliament from Serres with the People's Party, and in September that year briefly became defence minister in the Sophocles Venizelos government.

In 1951 Karamanlis joined the Greek Rally (Synargemos) party, newly-establi- shed by retired Field Marshal Alexandros Papagos, and was elected to Parliament on that party's ticket, re-elected in 1952, both times as a deputy for Serres. In July 1952 he married Amalia Kanellopoulou, the niece of Panayiotis Kanellopoulos, whom he divorced in 1970. That same month he was appointed to the ministry of public works, where he remained until 1955, also taking over the transports portfolio in December 1954.

In October 1955, Karamanlis became premier for the first time, having been given the mandate to form a government by King Paul after Papagos' death.

On Jan. 4, 1956, Karamanlis established the National Radical Union (ERE) comprising most of the Greek Rally MPs and eminent members of the centrist parties, including Constantinos Tsatsos and Evangelos Averof. ERE won the general elections a month later and Karamanlis formed his second government, in which he also held the national defence portfolio.

In 1958, after 15 ERE MPs left the party, the government lost its absolute majority in Parliament and new elections took place in May, when Karamanlis became prime minister of his third consecutive government. In February the next year, Karamanlis' talks with his Turkish counterpart in Zurich and the quadripartite talks in London resulted in the signing of the Zurich and London Treaties, respectively, declaring Cyprus a unified and independent republic.

In September 1959, talks began for Greece's accession to the EEC, and the accession treaty was signed two years later, becoming effective on Nov. 1, 1962.

Karamanlis remained premier until 1963, as his ERE party won the next general elections in 1961. He resigned in June 1963 after a dispute with the palace, opposition accusations over the 1961 electoral result, and the explosive situation that had been created after the assassination of left- wing EDA party deputy Grigoris Lambrakis in Thessaloniki by supporters of the extreme-right.

Karamanlis resigned as the head of ERE after the party failed to carry the November 1963 elections, and a month later went into self-exile in Paris, where he remained for 11 years, during which time he was not actively involved in politics.

Karamanlis triumphantly returned to Greece on the night of July 23, 1974, after the toppling of the seven-year colonels' dictatorship in the country.

He formed a national unity government the next day, and established the New Democracy (ND) party in September in view of elections in November, which his party carried with 54 per cent of the vote and in which he was elected a deputy for Athens' first district. He also legalised the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in September, while a December referendum abolished the monarchy and established a presidential democracy.

ND also carried the November 1977 general elections with 41 per cent and Karamanlis was elected in Athens' first district.

He remained prime minister until May 1980, when he resigned after Parliament elected him president of the republic in the third round of voting and he was succeeded by Georgios Rallis as ND leader and premier.

He remained in the presidency until 1985, when he was succeeded by Supreme Court judge Christos Sartzetakis, and was re-elected by Parliament to the presidency in 1990. At the end of his term in 1995, Karamanlis retired from public life and was succeede d by Kostis Stephanopoulos.

Athens News Agency