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Andreas Papandreou ( ) (5 February 1919– 23 June 1996) was a Greekmarker economist, a socialist politician and a dominant figure in Greek politics. He served two terms as Prime Minister of Greece (21 October 1981, to 2 July 1989, and 13 October 1993, to 22 January 1996). In 1999, Papandreou was posthumously awarded the Swedish Order of the Polar Star.

Early life and career

Papandreou was born on the island of Chiosmarker, Greece, the son of the leading Greek liberal politician George Papandreou. His mother, born Zofia (Sofia) Mineyko, was half Polish. Before university, he attended Athens College a leading private school in Greece. He attended the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens from 1937 till 1938 when, during the quasi-Fascist Metaxas dictatorship, he was arrested for purported Trotskyism. Following representations by his father, he was allowed to leave for the US.

In 1942, Papandreou enrolled at Harvard Universitymarker, where he completed a doctorate in economics. In 1943, Papandreou joined America's war effort and volunteered for the US Navy where he served as a nurse at Bethesda Hospitalmarker for war wounded, and became a United Statesmarker citizen. He returned to Harvard in 1946 and served as a lecturer and associate professor until 1947. He then held professorships at the University of Minnesotamarker, Northwestern Universitymarker, the University of California, Berkeleymarker (where he was chair of the Department of Economics), Stockholm Universitymarker and York Universitymarker in Torontomarker, Canadamarker. In 1948, he entered into a relationship with University of Minnesotamarker journalism student Margaret Chant. After Chant obtained a divorce and after his own divorce with Christina Rasia, his first wife, Papandreou and Chant were married in 1951. They had three sons and a daughter. Papandreou also had a daughter out of wedlock living in Sweden.

Political career

Papandreou returned to Greece in 1959, where he headed an economic development research program, by invitation of Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis. In 1960, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director of the Athens Economic Research Center, and Advisor to the Bank of Greecemarker. In 1963, his father George Papandreou, head of the Center Union, became Prime Minister of Greece. Andreas became his chief economic advisor. He renounced his American citizenship and was elected to the Greek Parliament in the Greek legislative election, 1964. He immediately became Minister to the First Ministry of State (in effect, assistant Prime Minister).

Papandreou took publicly a neutral stand on the Cold War and wished for Greece to be more independent from the USA. He also criticized the massive presence of American military and intelligence in Greece, and sought to remove senior officers with "anti-democratic tendencies" from the Greek military.

In 1965, while the "Aspida" conspiracy within the Army, alleged by the political opposition to involve Andreas personally, was being investigated, George Papandreou moved to fire the defense minister and assume the post himself. King Constantine refused to endorse this move and essentially forced George Papandreou's resignation. Greece entered a period of political polarisation and instability, which ended with the coup d'état of 21 April 1967.

When the Greek Colonels led by Georgios Papadopoulos seized power in April 1967, Andreas was incarcerated while his father George Papandreou was put under house arrest. George Papandreou, already at advanced age, died in 1968.Under American pressure, the military regime released Andreas on condition that he leave the country. Papandreou then moved to Swedenmarker with his wife, four children, and mother. There he accepted a post at Stockholm Universitymarker. In Parismarker, while in exile, Andreas Papandreou formed an "anti-dictatorship organization", the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), and toured the world rallying opposition to the Greek military regime. Despite his former American citizenship and academic career in the United States, Papandreou held the Central Intelligence Agency responsible for the 1967 coup and became increasingly critical of the U.S. Government.
Andreas Papandreou speaking in Greece, on September 3, 1974, when he announced the formation of a new political party and his proposal for the Principles of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.

In the early 1970s, during the latter phase of the dictatorship in Greece, Papandreou, along with most leading Greek politicians, in exile or in Greece, opposed the process of political normalisation attempted by Georgios Papadopoulos and his appointed PM, Spyros Markezinis. In August 6, 1974, Andreas Papandreou called an extraordinary meeting of the National Congress of PAK in Winterthur, Switzerland, which decided its dissolution without announcing it publicly.

Papandreou returned to Greece after the fall of the junta in 1974, during metapolitefsi, and formed a new "radical" party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK. Most of his former PAK companions, as well as members of other anti-dictatorial groups such as the Democratic Defense joined in the new party. He also testified in the first of the Greek Junta Trials about the alleged involvement of the junta with the CIA.

At that year's elections, PASOK received only 13.5% of the vote, but in 1977 it polled 25%, and Papandreou became Leader of the Opposition. At the 1981 elections, PASOK won a landslide victory over the conservative New Democracy Party, and Papandreou became Greece's first socialist Prime Minister.

In office, Papandreou backtracked from much of his campaign rhetoric and followed a more conventional approach. Greece did not withdraw from NATOmarker, United States troops and military bases were not ordered out of Greece, and Greek membership in the European Economic Community continued. In domestic politics, Papandreou's government carried through sweeping reforms of social policy by expanding health care coverage (the "National Health System" was instituted), promoting state-subsidized tourism for lower-income families, and funding social establishments for the elderly. In a move strongly opposed by the Greek Orthodox Church, Papandreou introduced, for the first time in Greece, the process of civil marriage. Prior to the institution of civil marriages in Greece, the only legally recognized marriages were those conducted in the Greek Orthodox Church. Couples seeking a civil marriage had to get married outside Greece, generally in Italy. Also, under PASOK, the Greek State also appropriated real estate properties previously owned by the Church.

Papandreou introduced various reforms in the administration and curriculum of the Greek educational system, allowing students to participate in the election process for their professors and deans in the university, and abolishing tenure.

A major part of Papandreou's allagi (change) involved driving out the "old families" ("tzakia" literally: fireplaces using the traditional Greek expression for the genealogy of families), which allegedly influenced Greek politics from behind the scenes and belonged to the traditional Greek Right.
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on official visit with United States President William J.
Clinton, Washington, April 1994.
Dimitra Liani in the background

Papandreou was comfortably re-elected in 1985 with 46% of the vote, but, in the years to follow, his premiership became increasingly clouded by controversy and scandal. In 1989, he divorced his wife Margaret Papandreou and married Dimitra Liani, while in the same year he was indicted by Parliament in connection with a US$200 million Bank of Crete embezzlement scandal, and was accused of facilitating the embezzlement by ordering state corporations to transfer their holdings to the Bank of Crete, where the interest was allegedly skimmed off to benefit PASOK, and possibly some of its highest functionaries. Following the many repercussions of the so-called Koskotas scandal, the 1989 elections produced a deadlock, leading to a prolonged political crisis. Papandreou's PASOK's won 40% of the popular vote, compared to the rival New Democracy's 46%, and, due to changes made in electoral law one year before the elections by the then reigning PASOK administration, New Democracy was not able to form a government. In the wake of three consecutive elections between 1989 and 1990, the New Democracy leader, Constantine Mitsotakis, eventually received sufficient support to form a government. In January 1992, Papandreou himself was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Koskotas scandal after a 7-6 vote in the specially convened High Court trial, ordered by the Greek parliament, with the support of both main parties, New Democracy and PASOK.

Papandreou confounded his critics by winning the next general elections of October 1993 ; however, his fragile health kept him from exercising firm political leadership. He was hospitalized with advanced heart disease and kidney failure on 20 November 1995 and finally retired from office on 16 January 1996. He died on 23 June 1996, with his funeral procession producing an outpouring of public emotion.

Economic policies

The expenditure programme of the Papandreou government during 1981-1990 has been described as excessive. The massive expenditures were not accompanied by corresponding revenue increases and this led to increases in budget deficits and the public debt. Many economic indicators worsened during 1981-1990 and the economic policies of his government were widely regarded as a failure.

International politics

Papandreou was co-creator in 1982 and subsequently an active participant in a movement promoted by the Parliamentarians for Global Action, the Initiative of the Six, which included, besides the Greek PM, Mexicomarker's president Miguel de la Madrid, Argentinamarker's PM Raúl Alfonsín, Swedenmarker's PM Olof Palme, Tanzania's president Julius Nyerere and Indiamarker's Indira Gandhi. The movement's stated objective was the "promotion of peace and progress for all mankind". After various initiatives, mostly directed at pressuring the United States and the Soviet Union to stop nuclear testing and reduce the level of nuclear arms, it eventually disbanded.

Papandreou's rhetoric was at times antagonistic to the United States. He was the first western prime minister to visit General Wojciech Jaruzelski in Polandmarker. According to the Foreign Affairs magazine Papandreou went on record as saying that since the USSRmarker is not a capitalist country "one cannot label it an imperialist power." According to Papandreou, "the Soviet Union represent[ed] a factor that restrict[ed] the expansion of capitalism and its imperialistic aims".

Papandreou supported the causes of various movements in the world, and agreed for Greece to host representatives offices of many such organisations. He supported the cause of Palestinian liberation, met repeatedly with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and condemned Israeli policies in the occupied territories.


Papandreou exercised a more independent foreign policy elevating Greece's profile among non-aligned nations. He affirmed Greece's independence in setting her own policy agenda, both internally and externally, free from any foreign domination.

His opponents on the left, on the other hand, including the KKE, accused him of supporting, in practice, the agenda of NATO and the United States.

Papandreou's influence and the reforms of PASOK were instrumental to bringing Greece in line with the rest of Europe.

Andreas Papandreou is widely acknowledged as having shifted political power from the traditional conservative Greek Right, which had dominated Greek politics for decades, to a more populist and centre-left locus. Political forces which remained the so-called pariah in politics as of the end of the Greek Civil War, were given a chance to prove themselves in democratically elected governments. This shift in the Greek political landscape helped heal old civil war wounds; Greece became more pluralistic, and more in line with the political system of other western European countries. Recent Social Trends in France, 1960-1990 Michel Forsé Quote: "The coming into office of PASOK signified both socially and politically the end of the post civil war era. Certainly this is true already for the period after the collapse of dictatorship (1974) but it is systematized by PASOK. Essentially this means that the forms of political and as such social and economic exclusion that had distinguished the post civil war times vanish for good." p. 13 ISBN 0773508872
also Recent Social Trends in Greece, 1960-2000 By Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Translated by Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Contributor Dimitris Charalambis, Laura Maratou-Alipranti, Andromachi Hadjiyanni Published by McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2004 ISBN 0773522026, ISBN 9780773522022 701 pages retrieved 15 August 2008 Papandreou also systematically pursued ist politics which ended the sociopolitical and economic exclusion of many social classes in the post-civil war era.

It is also acknowledged that Papandreou, along with Karamanlis, played a leading role in establishing Democracy in Greece during metapolitefsi. He is described as both prudent and a realist, despite his appearance as a leftist ideologue and charismatic orator. His choices to remain in the European Union and NATOmarker, both of which he vehemently opposed for many years, proved his pragmatical approach. Even his approach of negotiating the removal of the US bases from Greece was diplomatic, because although it was agreed to remove them, some of the bases remained. His skillful handling of these difficult policies had the effect of providing common policy goals to the political forces of Greece.

Papandreou's successor in office, Costas Simitis, broke with a number of Papandreou's approaches.

Papandreou's son, George Papandreou, was elected leader of PASOK in February 2004 and Prime Minister during the October 2009 general elections. At the 2004 Greek elections, some PASOK followers, in political rallies, invoked Papandreou's legacy with the chant "Andrea, zis! Esi mas odigis!" ("Andreas, you are still alive! You're leading us!").

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