The most complete information guide about Athens, Greece

King Constantine II surrounded by the junta Government at the swearing-in Ceremony of the Dictators. Left to right: Colonel Papadoupoulos, Constantine Kollias, King Constantine II, General Zoitakis



The Greek Military Junta
(Regime of the Colonels)
The Role of King Constantine II



The three plot leaders visited King Constantine II in Tatoi, the summer palace and estate of the former Greek Royal Family 15 kilometres Tatoi, the summer palace of King Constantine II and King George of Greece before himnorth of Athens. It also was surrounded by tanks effectively preventing any form of resistance. The King wrangled with the colonels and initially dismissed them ordering them to return with Spantidakis.

Later in the day he went to go the Ministry of National Defence, north of the city centre of Athens, where all plotters were gathered. The King had a discussion with Kanellopoulos, who was held there as well as with leading generals. None could be of much help since Kanellopoulos was a prisoner and the generals had no real power, as was evident from the shouting of lower and middle-ranking officers, refusing to obey orders and demanding a new government under Spantidakis. The King finally relented and decided to co-operate.

To this day he is claiming that he was isolated and did not know what else to do. His excuse has been that he was trying to gain time to organize a counter-coup and oust the junta. He did organize such a counter-coup. However, the fact that the new government had a legal origin, in that it had been appointed by the legitimate head of state, played an important role in the coup's success.

Later, the King regretted his decision. For many Greeks, it served to identify him indelibly with the coup and certainly played an important role in the final decision to abolish the monarchy, sanctioned by the 1974 referendum.

Generals Pattakos (middle) and Papadopoulos (right) with King ConstantineThe only concession the King could achieve was to appoint a civilian as Prime Minster rather than Spantidakis. Constantine Kollias, a former Attorney General of the Areios Pagos, the highest court in Greece, was chosen. He was a well-known royalist and had even been disciplined under the Papandreou government for meddling in the investigation on the murder of Gregoris Lambrakis.

Kollias was little more than a puppet and real power rested with the army and especially with General Papadopoulos who was emerging as the coup's strong man and who became Minister of Defense and Minister of the Government's Presidency. Other coup members also occupied key posts. Up until then constitutional legitimacy had been prevented, since under the then-Greek Constitution the King could appoint whomever he wanted as Premier, as long as Parliament granted a vote of confidence or a general election was called.

It was this government, sworn-in in the early evening hours of 21 April, that formalized the coup by adopting a "Constituent Act", an amendment equal to a revolution, that cancelled the elections and effectively abolished the constitution, to be replaced by one to be drawn up later. In the meantime, the government was to rule by decree. Since traditionally such Constituent Acts did not need to be signed by the Crown, the King never signed it, permitting him to claim, years later, that he had never signed any document instituting the junta.

Critics claim that King Constantine II did nothing to prevent the government, and especially his chosen Premier Kollias, from legally instituting the authoritarian government to come. This same government formally published and enforced a decree instituting military law already proclaimed by radio during the coup's development. Constantine claimed he never signed that decree either.

Greek Government of Constantine Kollias
21 April
Constantine Kollias: Prime Minister
G. Spandidakis: Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Defence
N. Makarezos: Minister of National Economy
S. Pattakos: Minister of interior
G.Papadopoulos: Minister of State
22 April
Pavlos Economou-Gouras: Minister of Foreign Affairs
Leonidas Rozakis: Minister of Justice
Constantine Kalabokias: Minister of Education
Adamantios Androutsopoulos: Minister of Finance
Georgios Papademetrakopoulos: Minister of Commerce
Nicholaos Economopoulos: Minister of Industry
Panayotis Tsaroukhis: Minister of Environment
Pavlos Totomis: Minister of Public Order
Alexandros Matthaeou: Minister of Agriculture
Eustathios Poulantzas: Minister of Health
Athanassios Athanassiou: Minister of Mercantile Marine
Demetrios Economopoulos: Minister of Transportations
24 April
Georgios Christopoulos: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
26 April
Demetrios Economopoulos resigns from the office of the Minister of Transportations. The new Minister is Ioannis Tsantilas.
Alexandros Lekkas: Minister of Labour
Spyridon Linardos: Deputy Minister of Finance
Georgios Georgakelos: Deputy Minister of Commerce
5 May
Demetrios Patilis: Minister of Northern Greece
24 June
Theophylaktos Papakonstantinou: Deputy Minister of State
1 November
These Ministers resign from their offices: Leonidas Rozakis, Nicholaos Economopoulos, Panayotis Tsaroukhis, Alexandros Lekkas, Constantine Kalabokias, Theophylaktos Papakonstantinou. They're replaced by: Constantine Kalabokias (Minister of Justice), T. Papakonstantinou (Minister of Education), Ioannis Xydopoulos (Minister of Labour), Constantine Kypraeos (Minister of Industry), Spyridon Lampiris (Minister of Health)



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