Spyros Markezinis

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Spyros Vasiliou Markezinis ( Greek : Σπυρίδων Μαρκεζίνης) (born April 22, 1909 in Athens ; † January 4, 2000 ibid) was a Greek politician and prime minister .

Family and studies

Markezinis came from a long-established and wealthy family from the island of Santorini , who was given the title of "Marchesini" ("little" Marchese (margrave)) during the Venetian rule . He graduated from the University of Athens in Law and Political Science . He then worked as a lawyer . In 1936 he became an advisor to King George II. He held this office until 1946, although the king had left Greece in May 1941 after the occupation by the German Wehrmacht . Markezinis stayed in Greece and became a member of a Greek resistance movement.

Political career

Member of the National Assembly

Markezinis began his political career in 1946 when he was elected member of the National Assembly (Vouli) . There he represented the United Nationalist Party (UNP) for the constituency of the Cyclades . Soon after, he left the UNP and founded the New Party (NK) , the second of many parties to which he would later belong. In the parliamentary elections in 1950 , the NK reached 2.5 percent, so that he was now a member of the National Assembly for this party.

Minister under Marshal Papagos and an eventful career up to the military dictatorship in 1967

Markezinis was appointed minister without portfolio in the cabinet of Alexandros Diomidis in 1949. Soon afterwards, in this role, he was given control of economic policy and the coordination of the activities of the various economic ministries. After the election of his long-time political ally Marshal Alexandros Papagos as Prime Minister on November 19, 1952, he became Minister of Coordination ( Ypourgos Syndonismou ) with extensive influence. In April 1953, he ordered the drachma to be devalued by 50 percent in relation to the US dollar in order to curb existing import restrictions. Its successful monetary policy led to an increase in exports and consumer demand on the one hand, and a reduction in inflation and equalization of the trade deficit on the other. During this time he was seen as a possible successor to Papagos as prime minister and party leader. However, Markezinis resigned on April 3, 1954 before the Papagos government ended in October 1955. The reason for his resignation was the publication of correspondence with the then German Minister of Economic Affairs, Ludwig Erhard , in which Markezinis Erhard promised to award industrial projects to German companies without the prior consent of Prime Minister Papagos. After his resignation from the Papagos government, he re-founded his Neo Komma party, which had previously been absorbed by the Papagos “Greek Collection” (Ellinikos Synargemos), as Komma Proodeftikon (KP, Party of Progressive) .

After the death of Marshal Papagos on October 4, 1955, neither he nor other possible heirs, such as the former Prime Minister Panagiotis Kanellopoulos or Minister and Interim Prime Minister Stephanos Stephanopoulos , were appointed Prime Minister. Instead, King Paul appointed the then Minister for Public Works Konstantinos Karamanlis as the new Prime Minister. This succeeded in uniting almost all of the members of the Papagos party in a new party, Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis (ERE, National Radical Union ) and won the 1956 election with an absolute majority. Markezinis and his new or re-established party achieved a share of the vote of 2.22% and no parliamentary seat in the “triphasic suffrage” applicable to this election. It was not until 1958 that he succeeded in re-entering parliament with his party KP : To this end, he formed an electoral alliance with the parties of the center, including the EPEK of the late Nikolaos Plastiras , and two other smaller parties, which received 10.62% of the votes and a total of ten parliamentary seats scored. Two of these seats were held by Markezinis and his party. In the following elections of 1961 , Markezinis formed an electoral alliance with the Enosis Kendrou (EK, Center Union) under Georgios Papandreou . This electoral alliance did not achieve a majority, the ERE under Konstantinos Karamanlis remained in power. Markezinis succeeded in entering parliament. Two years later, Markezinis ran with his KP in the 1963 elections without any connection with any other party and won two parliamentary seats with 3.73% of the vote, including one for himself. A few months later, Markezinis formed a party alliance with the now in the 1964 elections opposition ERE under Panagiotis Kanellopoulos and entered parliament again; The EC won the elections with an absolute majority, headed by Georgios Papandreou.

Military dictatorship

The following years were marked by an unstable political situation, which finally led to the Colonel coup on April 21, 1967 under Colonel Georgios Papadopoulos and the establishment of a military dictatorship that lasted until 1974 .

1973 there was a coup attempt by the predominantly royalist set Marine . Prime Minister Georgios Papadopoulos then deposed King Constantine II , who was in exile , and was appointed president in a controversial referendum on June 1, 1973. In response to growing economic problems, public protests and increasing diplomatic isolation, Papadopoulos sought the support of the old political establishment . Markezinis was ready to help the country back to democracy and was appointed Prime Minister on October 8, 1973. In doing so, he agreed with Papadopoulos to restrict military influence, to repeal martial law and to withdraw press censorship . At the same time free elections were promised, in which the traditional left political movements should also be allowed.

In November 1973, student protests and the occupation of the Technical University of Athens led to a coup and the removal of Papadopoulos by Brigadier General Dimitrios Ioannidis , who released Markezinis as Prime Minister on November 25, 1973 and had him arrested. Ioannidis canceled the promised elections and again declared martial law. A few months later took place in July 1974 after the coup against the Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III. and the subsequent invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces and the collapse of the military dictatorship .

Restoration of democracy

After his release from prison, Markezinis took part in the negotiations to restore democracy in July 1974, which led to the formation of a government of national unity under Prime Minister Karamanlis on July 23, 1974 . The Progressive Party of Markezinis remained politically active in the following years and achieved its greatest success in 1981 with the election of a member of the European Parliament . He himself increasingly withdrew from active politics and wrote autobiographical and contemporary political writings.


  1. General Secretariat of the Greek Government with the Governments from 1909 to the present day (in Greek). Information on the government of Alexandros Papagos. ( Memento of the original from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ggk.gr
  2. Olga Lazaridou: From Crisis to Normality: The German-Greek Relations with Special Consideration of the Political and Economic Basis (1949-1958). Dissertation University of Bonn, Philosophical Faculty, 1992. S. 182 ff.
predecessor Office successor
Georgios Papadopoulos Prime Minister of Greece
Adamantios Androutsopoulos