Karamanlis, Constantine

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Karamanlis, Constantine

Constantine Karamanlis (kôn´stäntēn kärämänlēs´), 1907–98, president of Greece (1980–85, 1990–95), b. Turkish Macedonia. A member of parliament in 1935–36, he was reelected in 1946 and held various cabinet posts until Oct., 1955, when he became Greece's youngest premier. He held that post until June, 1963, except for brief intervals in 1958 and 1961, while his right-wing National Radical Union continued to gain majorities in the general elections. A partisan of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Karamanlis reached (1959) agreement with Great Britain and Turkey over Cyprus. In 1959 he announced a five-year plan (1960–64) for the Greek economy, emphasizing improvement of agricultural and industrial production. After his cabinet fell in 1963, Karamanlis went into exile abroad. He was a vocal opponent of the military junta that seized power in Greece in 1967. In July, 1974, the junta fell, following a disastrous military venture in Cyprus. Karamanlis returned as premier and leader of the New Democracy party, which gained a substantial majority in the elections of Nov., 1974. He began immediately to undo the work of the military government, reestablishing civil liberties and presiding over the restoration of democracy. A plebiscite in Dec., 1975, made Greece a republic and abolished the monarchy. Karamanlis served as premier until 1980 and as president from 1980 to 1985. He oversaw Greece's entry (1981) into the European Community (now the European Union). He held the presidency again in 1990–95, and was succeeded by Kostis Stephanopoulos.

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