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Georgios Kondylis


The Mid-War Period
The period of instability

The call for elections on 25 September 1932 under a system of proportional representation, opened a new cycle of interaction and government alternations. Initially power went to the Democratic Party of Alexandros Papanastasiou, next to the Liberals and finally to the coalition of the People's Party under Panayis Tsaldaris.

The new elections of March 1933 revived the resentments of the National Schism again. In this process anti-Venizelist parties prevailed. Apart from the main parties, Liberal and People's Party, plenty of other groups and parties were active. The split of groups, inspired by Venizelism, led to the formation of the Republic Union under Alexandros Papanastasiou, who occupied the left wing, of Progressive Liberals under Georgios Kaphantaris and the Conservative Democrats under Andreas Michalakopoulos. In the People's Party, Panayis Tsaldaris was elected leader. Close to it, other anti-Venizelist formations were moving such as the "Freethinkers" of Ioannis Metaxas and the National Radical Party of Georgios Kondylis.

Athens, 18 March 1935. A photo from the first trial of the army officers who had participated in the coup at the Court-Martial of Athens. In the first row from the right: Chr. Tsigantes, É. Stephanakos, Chr. Triantafyllidis and É. Tsigantes. The trial lasted 13 days - Photographic Archive of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive in AthensAs party policies did not contribute to the maintenance of social coherence, the "exceptional" capacities of its leader were among the basic criteria of choice that voters had. There was a strong anti-royalism of a considerable part of Venizelism (during the 1920s) and the Communist party with its total opposition to the "bourgeois" parliamentary system.

In the following years, the political system of the country was led to decline. The coups of hard-core Venizelists, in March 1933 and 1935 (with General Nikolaos Plastiras as leader), the assassination attempt against Venizelos and purges in the army are instances of deviation from the parliamentary system.

Amidst political chaos (social tension, violent labor demonstrations) that marked the period 1933-35, the monarchy was restored as a result of the rigged plebiscite of 3 November (by the government of the coup of Georgios Kondylis) which legalized the return of King George II.

Ioannis Metaxas (1871-1941) - Photographic Archive of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive AthensThe elections of 26 January 1936, the last in the Greek inter-war period, terminated the circle of domination of two political blocs (Venizelists-Royalists) that had held a leading role for almost one third of the century. None of the two large blocs possessed absolute majority in the parliament. Their leaders could not reach an agreement for the formation of a government of coalition.

A regulatory factor was the vote of the Communists, whose participation in authority was categorically rejected by the Palace and the military leadership. Nevertheless, there has been an effort, known as the "Sophoulis-Sklavainas" agreement, between the Liberals and the Communists to reach an understanding. The result was the election of Sophoulis as president of the parliament and the expression of strong concerns and threats on the part of the right for the continuation of the coalition.

K. Demertzis was appointed prime minister. With the full consent of the Liberals and of Venizelos who was in Paris, the King assigned the ministry of Army to Ioannis Metaxas. A few days later Demertzis died (the death of Venizelos preceded). Disliking the Communists and fearing a coup and without consulting the political leaders, King George II appointed Metaxas, leader of the small party of "Freethikers" that held only 7 seats in the parliament, to be interim prime minister. The appointment was confirmed by the Greek parliament after a vote of confidence in the parliament.Timeline

On the pretext of imminent riots, instigated by the Communist Party, Metaxas suspended the parliament indefinitely. He also suspended various articles of the constitution and, practically with the tolerance of the bourgeois political world, proclaimed a dictatorship on 4 August 1936. Top



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