The most complete information guide about Athens, Greece

Grigoris Lambrakis' funeral in May 1963 - Photographic Archives of K. Megalokonomou. Ekdotiki Athinon, Athens



Succeeding Governments


After the civil war, Greece sought to join the Western democracies and became a member of NATO in 1952. From 1952 to late 1963, Greece was governed by conservative parties: the Greek Rally of Marshal Alexander Papagos who, with the help of a change in the electoral system, gained 240 out of 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, and its successor, the National Radical Union (ERE) of Constantine Karamanlis.

Constantine KaramanlisBy the early 1960s, the government was still at the hands of conservatives but there were signs of liberalization. In 1963, the assassination of EDA deputy Gregoris Lambrakis, the resignation of Constantine Karamanlis and the election of centrist George Papandreou, Sr. as Prime Minister were signs of rapid change. In a bid to gain more control over the country's government than what his limited constitutional powers allowed, the young and inexperienced King Constantine II clashed with liberal reformers, dismissing Papandreou in 1965, causing a constitutional crisis.

Furthermore, the austerity policy pursued by ERE, even though it ensured stability and development (low inflation etc.), affected the low income groups. All this advanced the defeat of ERE in the elections of 1963. However, the Centre Union was to obtain an absolute majority in new elections in 1964.

The term July apostates refers to the group of George Papandreou's dissidents, led by the politician Konstantinos Mitsotakis, then also member of the Center Union, who brought about the fall of his legally elected government in favor of the formerly King. It was followed by a succession of unstable coalition governments formed by the King.King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie in 1966

Constantine II induced some of Papandreou's dissidents, led by Stephanos Stephanopoulos, to form a government of "King's men," which lasted until 22 December 1966, amid mounting strikes and protests by Papandreou's supporters, the Greek democrats and the left-wing. When Stephanopoulos resigned in frustration, Constantine appointed an interim government under Ioannis Paraskevopoulos, which called elections for May 1967. This government did not even last until the scheduled elections. On 3 April 1967 it was replaced by another interim government under Panagiotis Kanellopoulos who was the leader of the National Radical Union and still supposed to organize a fair election in May.

New elections were scheduled for 28 May 1967 and there were many indications that Papandreou's Center Union Party (EK) would not be able to form a working government by itself. When tanks rolled into Athens, in 21 April the legitimate ERE government asked king Constantine to immediately mobilize the state against the coup. He declined to do so and swore in the Dictators as legitimate government of Greece, while asserting that he was "certain they had acted in order to save the country".

Eight months later, Constantine took part in a failed counter-coup and fled the country to Italy. He never attempted to set-up a political government-in-exile of any sort while residing in Rome, thus leaving the Dictatorship as the sole rulers of Greece. Top

Growing Athens Population

Greece developed rapidly between 1950 and 1960, initially with the help of the U.S. Marshall Plans' grants and loans and later through growth in the tourism sector. The sharp increase in the construction of new buildings was fuelled by a huge wave of immigrants into Athens at a time when large numbers were emigrating abroad to Australia and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Masses of people from the countryside arrived in Athens which made the city’s population increase from 1.124.000 people in 1940 to 2.540.000 in 1971 and to 3.016.000 in 1981. Large numbers of these new residents settled in areas outside the city centre. In 1940, 42% of the population still lived within the boundaries of the Municipality of Athens. By 1971, this percentage had been reduced to 34% and it was further reduced in the following years. In 1940, the population of Athens was 15% of the population of Greece as a whole while by 1971, it had doubled to 30% of the total population.

Unfortunately, the settlement of immigrants and the expansion of the city took place without any form of government planning, which resulted in uncontrolled and unauthorized building activity. Particularly important in the construction process was the so called “antiparochi” system. Many old detached houses were demolished and gave way to apartment blocks through an agreement between the former house owners, the builders and the buyers of the apartments. The owner offered his building plot in exchange for some apartments in the new block and the buyers gave the builders Timelinethe capital necessary for construction.

Athens developed at an extremely fast pace, sometimes faster than the city’s infrastructure could cope with. An example is the transport problem. In a period when very few Athenians owned a car, the 1960’s roads in Athens did not guarantee a regular flow of traffic. Top



Add to Favit Add to Digg Add to Add to Simpy Add to StumbleUpon Add to Netscape Add to Furl Add to Yahoo Add to Google Add to Blogmarks Add to Ma.Gnolia Add to Netvouz

Currency converter























    © 2004-2009 - Athens Info Guide - All rights reserved - Disclaimer