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General Papadopoulos was appointed Prime Minister and later also Regent



The Greek Military Junta
(Regime of the Colonels)
Regency and the Republic


When the King left Athens to begin his counter-coup, on 13 December 1967, he took Prime Minister Kollias with him. From that moment on, legally, there was no more government and no Head of State in Athens. This did not concern the military junta. Instead the Revolutionary Council of Pattakos, Papadopoulos and Makarezos made a brief appearance to release a resolution that was published in the Government Gazette. In it, another member of the military administration, Major General Georgios Zoitakis, was appointed as Regent.

Zoitakis then appointed Papadopoulos Prime Minister. This became the only government of Greece after the failure of the King's attempted coup as the King was unwilling to set up an alternative administration in exile. The Regent's position was later confirmed under the 1968 Constitution, although the exiled King never officially recognized, nor acknowledge, the regency.

On 21 March 1972, in a legally controversial move even under the junta's own constitution, the cabinet voted to oust Zoitakis and replace him with Papadopoulos who thus combined the offices of Regent and Prime Minister. It was thought that Zoitakis was problematic and interfered too much with the military.

George Papadopoulos with Phaedon Gizikis (right) and Dimitrios Ioannides (left)The King's portrait remained on coins, in public buildings etc. but slowly, the military was breaking the institution of the monarchy down. The royal family's tax immunity was abolished, the complex network of royally managed charities was brought under direct state control, the royal arms were removed from coins, the Navy and Air Force were no longer "Royal" and the newspapers were usually banned from publishing the King's photo or any interviews.

During this period, resistance against the colonels' rule became better organized among exiles in Europe and the United States. In addition to the expected opposition from the left, the colonels found themselves under attack by constituencies that had traditionally supported past right-wing regimes: pro-monarchists supporting Constantine; businessmen concerned over international isolation and the middle class facing an economic downturn after 1971. There was also considerable political fighting within the junta. Still, up until 1973 the junta appeared in firm control of Greece and not likely to be ousted by violent means.

By 1973, the military dictators had grown deeply unpopular. In May officers of the largely royalist Navy staged an abortive coup, although King Constantine II of Greece himself was not involved. On 1 June 1973, Papadopoulos retaliated by declaring Greece a republic. He also declared himself President of Greece, a decision which was confirmed by a plebiscite on 29 July by an "almost unanimous" vote, thanks to widespread election fraud. The political parties did not recognize the result. Top



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