Antonis Samaras Early Life
Antonis Samaras is a Greek politician who served as Prime Minister of Greece from 2012 to 2015. A member of the New Democracy party, he was its president from 2009 until 2015. Antonis Samaras, born 23 May 1951, seen by supporters as a man who sticks to his guns. Critics regarded him as an ambitious opportunist. An economist by training, he made his name in the early 1990s as foreign minister when his campaign against the new state of Macedonia’s right to use the same name as a region in Greece reached such a pitch that he was sacked from his post and left the party.
In 2010, backed with New Democracy again and now its leader in opposition, he refused to support Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou over the first EU-IMF bailout. He scuppered hopes of national consensus, rejecting the austerity measures the 110bn-euro (£89bn; $138bn) loan package entailed.
Germany’s media, as The Guardian noted in an article , regarded the intransigent conservative leader as “the fly in the ointment, the gadfly who… put personal ambition before national interest”.
New Democracy narrowly secured victory in the June polls, and Mr Samaras said the result represented a vote for the country “to remain on its European path and in the eurozone”.
Antonis Samaras Biography and Profile
Samaras was born on 23 May 1951 in Athens, from a wealthy family of ethnic Greek merchants from Alexandria. He received an elite education at Athens College. He grew up among the capital’s well-connected families, playing tennis and going to parties at private clubs, Lia Daniolou, a New Democracy party official who has known him since their childhood days, told Bloomberg. At the age of 17, he won the Greek Teen Tennis Championship.
He pursued his studies in the US, first economics at Amherst College, then Harvard Business School. At Athens College, he rubbed shoulders with Mr Papandreou, while at Amherst in the early 1970s, he shared a dormitory with his future political opponent. In an article for the LA Times , college mates recall how the two young men were united by their opposition to the military junta that ruled Greece. Both grew beards after the junta famously banned them.
At the age of 26, Samaras was first elected to the Greek parliamen
At the age of 26, Mr Samaras was first elected to the Greek parliament as an MP for New Democracy.Antonis Samaras, who became prime minister during the country’s worst crisis since the 1967 military coup, is an intensely political man, combative, ambitious and eloquent. He is ideological and vindictive and has a history of making powerful enemies and of alienating the social and political elite from which he hails – his father was a surgeon. He spent a decade in the political wilderness and took another decade to climb to the top of Greek politics.
Samaras became finance minister
Samaras became finance minister and then foreign minister in Greece’s first centre-right administration after a decade of socialist rule under Andreas Papandreou. But a couple of years later, in 1992, just two months after they jointly signed the European Union’s Maastricht treaty on behalf of their country, the Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis sacked Samaras for his unyielding stance on next-door Macedonia, which had declared independence from Yugoslavia. Samaras’s obduracy exacerbated an international dispute that continues to this day.
October 1993, Samaras broke away from the governing New Democracy party
The following year, in October 1993, Samaras broke away from the governing New Democracy party and took enough parliamentarians with him for the government to lose its majority. The government fell, an early election was called, Papandreou returned to power, and another decade of socialist rule followed. Mitsotakis’s clan never forgave Samaras, the prime minister’s erstwhile protégé, whose first date with his future wife, Georgia Kritikos, was at an ND election rally.
leader of Political Spring
Samaras spent the decade of socialist rule, 1993-2004, as leader of Political Spring, a nationalist group that sought to chip away at New Democracy’s right wing without much success. “I spent 11 years staring at the walls of my house,” Samaras told the Wall Street Journal. But during the ND’s time in opposition, the seeds for Samaras’s political comeback were sown.
The leadership of the party passed to Kostas Karamanlis, scion of a family that has vied with the Mitsotakis clan for control of the party since it was founded in 1974.
Karamanlis, nephew of the party’s founder, returned it to power in 2004 and allowed Samaras to stand for the European Parliament. His three years there were a launch-pad for his national comeback. In 2007, he was elected to Greece’s national parliament, and two years later Karamanlis appointed him minister of culture.
Winning the party leadership
Winning the party leadership brought Samaras to the top of Greek politics within two and a half years, following the collapse of the Papandreou government amid fears of a sovereign default and an exit from the eurozone. Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of the English-language edition of the Kathimerini daily, called Samaras’s political comeback, two decades in the making, “the unlikeliest of stories”. In a reshuffle last June, Samaras appointed Kyriakos Mitsotakis – Constantine’s son and Dora Bakoyannis’s brother – to the crucial post of minister for administrative reform, a sign that he can be pragmatic when necessary.
Prime Minister of Greece
Antonis Samaras became Greece’s fourth prime minister in eight months at a brief ceremony at the presidential palace in Athens. In his first public words following his swearing in, he asked the Greek people for “patriotism and strong national unity and trust, [so] that with the help of God, we’ll do whatever we can for the people to come out of this crisis”.
Antonis Samaras demanded “hard work” from the new government “so that it will be able to give hope to our people”.
His party, New Democracy, forged a coalition with the Socialists (Pasok) and the smaller Democratic Left. The three coalition party leaders later met outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias. The deal ends weeks of uncertainty in Greece. An inconclusive election raised fears Greece could leave the eurozone and trigger a wider crisis. But the new coalition is expected to face immediate pressure from an austerity-weary Greek public.
They have endured five years of recession and are increasingly resistant to the tough terms of Greece’s huge bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The meeting was attended by the man tipped to be his successor, National Bank chairman Vassilis Rapanos.
Greece saw many street demonstrations – sometimes violent – by people angered by the job losses, pay cuts and reduced welfare resulting from the bailout. The country got an initial EU-IMF package worth 110bn euros (£89bn; $138bn) in 2010, then a follow-up this year worth 130bn euros. It also had 107bn euros (£86bn; $135bn) of debt, held by private investors, written off.
New Democracy won 129 seats in Greece’s 300-seat parliament, followed by Syriza with 71, Pasok with 33 and the Democratic Left with 17. Between them, New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Left had a majority of 29.
Spouse: Georgia Kretikos (m. 1990). Children: Lena Samaras, Kostas Samaras.
Antonis Samaras Biography and Profile