Former Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis has died at age 99 the Associated Press reports.
His family has released a short statement announcing the former PM’s passing, saying he died at 1 am on Monday morning “surrounded by those whom he loved and who loved him”.
Mr Mitsotakis had been active in politics for almost 60 years, having served in several Cabinet posts, including finance minister and foreign minister before retiring as a lawmaker in 2004.
He led Greece’s conservative party, New Democracy, from 1984 to 1993 and served as prime minister from 1990 to 1993.
Mitsotakis’ father and grandfathers were also members of parliament, and the great liberal leader Eleutherios Venizelos was his uncle. As a young man he took part in the Cretan resistance against the German occupation. He graduated in law and economics from the University of Athens and was elected to the Greek Parliament in 1946.
Mitsotakis was a traditional Greek liberal, and a member of George Papandreou’s Centre Union party.
In 1965 he led the group of dissidents known as the “July apostates” who left the party which caused the Center Union to lose its majority and the government to fall, leading to the junta of 1967 in which he and a number of other politicians were arrested. He left Greece and lived in exile until 1974 when the dictatorship fell. In the first elections he failed to get elected but in 1977 was elected in the Party of New Liberals.
In 1978 he joined Karmanlis’ New Democracy party and served as Minister for Economic Coordination and Minister of Foreign Affairs. After the rise of Andrea’s Papandreou’s PASOK party and the defeat of New Democracy, Mitsotakis was chosen to lead New Democracy.
When his party finally won the election in 1989, Papandreou had already changed the rules of the Constitution which made it impossible for a party to govern without a majority. Unable to form a viable coalition new elections are held and New Democracy won a small majority.
In 1992 Antonios Samaras and several members of New Democracy left the party over the handling of the ‘Macedonia’ – FYROM name issue causing the collapse of the Mitsotakis government, the same way George Papandreou’s government had collapsed thirty years before.
Mitsotakis then resigned from the ND leadership, although he remained the party’s honorary chairman. His son Kyriakos Mitsotakis was elected President of the New Democracy party on 10 January 2016 and is now the main opposition leader.
Mitsotakis’ elder daughter, Dora Bakoyanni, has served as Minister of Culture and Foreign Affairs and has also been elected Mayor of Athens.