Andrew C. Papandreou (Chios, 5 February 1919 – Ekali, Attica, 23 June 1996) was a Greek politician, president and founder of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (P.S.O.K.), whose founding declaration of 3 September is summarised in the triptych “National Independence – Popular Sovereignty – Social Liberation”. He served as Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (21 October 1981 – 2 July 1989 and 13 October 1993 – 18 January 1996) after winning the elections of October 1981, June 1985 and October 1993. Before becoming involved in politics, he was a professor of economics in the USA and a writer.
Andreas Papandreou was a leader with wide popular approval: in a survey conducted by Kathimerini newspaper in 2007, his first government was the best of the post-revolutionary period and he himself was the most important prime minister of the period. Similarly, in a poll for Real News in 2010 and in a survey by ALCO in 2013, he was voted the best prime minister since 1974. On the other hand, he created many fanatical enemies at home, and often provoked the indignation of the Western public opinion and heaps of critical texts in the Western media.
He was perhaps the politician with the greatest contribution to the formation of the political and party system in modern Greece. He reversed the dominant political division between “Nationalists and Communists” and replaced it with the “Right and Anti-Right” dichotomy. The PASOK he created was the first party in power in Greek history with a mass organization (on the model of the Communist Party of Greece), instead of the traditional party of cadres, a model of organization that Papandreou would adopt from New Democracy. Of his governmental work, the recognition of the National Resistance, the democratization of the trade union movement and the Greek Armed Forces, the creation of the National Health System and the Supreme Personnel Selection Council (ASEP), and the constitutional revision of 1985-1986, which consolidated the system of parliamentary power that is still in force today, drastically limiting the “royal” powers of the President, have a special place in modern Greek political history.
Other important breakthroughs of his governments were the legalisation of civil marriage, voting at 18, the introduction of the monotone writing system (1982), the abolition of school uniforms (1982), the introduction of allowances (child, disability, etc. ), the recognition of accidents at work, changes in family law such as the introduction of gender equality and the prohibition of the anachronistic institution of dowry, the abolition of most of the post-Saxon and post-civil war laws, such as those on tinpotism and espionage, the pursuit of an uninhibited and multidimensional foreign policy and the major strengthening of the Armed Forces, the recognition of the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus and the granting of permission for the political refugees of the Republican Army to return to Greece.
Opponents of Andreas Papandreou from the conservative and liberal sectors acknowledged his efforts to restore large sections of society that had suffered persecution and humiliation by the authoritarian post-civil war establishment and to build a welfare state, but criticised the large increase in public expenditure and public debt in his economic management, the attempted imposition on his public administration, which they blamed on him, and his foreign policy, which they considered maximalist and dangerous in its methods and objectives, while from the Left there were criticisms of his breaking of election promises as well as of the personal worship regime with which he was surrounded by the crowds of his political supporters.
He was born on 5 February 1919 in Chios and was the son of Georgios Papandreou, then General Commander of the Aegean and later Prime Minister, and Sofia Mineiko, daughter of Sigmund Mineiko, a Polish aristocrat and military engineer. He grew up in Athens and studied at the Athens College, where he was a classmate of Petros Sifneios, Paris Konstantinidis, Georgios Skiadaresis, a contractor, and Leonidas Adam, among others. With the latter three he would create, at the age of fifteen, in 1934, the Marxist magazine “Xekinima”, where he published many articles on Socialism. Each issue of the magazine had on its front page the verses of Kostis Palamas” “Work the world back into the fire!” Hestia, the most important newspaper of the right-wing party at the time, reacted by demanding that the young Andreas Papandreou be banished from Greek society because ”he would become dangerous for the country”. The Ministry of Education – in which his father had been a minister two years earlier – ordered interrogations and the “misbehaving” students were punished with conduct “epidemic” in their index.
Already in his teenage years, Andreas Papandreou had met three important figures of the socialist movement in Greece, Pantelis Pouliopoulos (who later joined his organisation, the EOKDE), Michalis Rapti (“Pablo”) and Plato Dracoulis.
In 1937 he entered the Law School of the University of Athens, but in 1939, after his arrest by the Metaxas regime, he left for the USA, where he continued his studies.
In 1937 he participated in a group of thirteen young Trotskyist communists – with political references to the “Proletarios” group -, among whom was the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis. The members of the ”group of thirteen” were arrested by the police, forced to sign a declaration of repentance and renunciation of communism and eventually released. Andreas Papandreou was personally interrogated by Konstantinos Maniadakis, Deputy Minister of Public Security. Years later, in 1964, as a member of the EPE, Maniadakis used the ”statement of repentance” to attack Andreas Papandreou politically.
He served as a volunteer in an important position in the U.S. Navy, as a model tester for the proper time to repair warships. In 1943 he received his doctorate in economics and philosophy from Harvard University, where he was appointed associate professor. In 1944, at just 25 years old, Andreas Papandreou was one of five members of the Greek delegation to the Bretton Woods Conference – which designed the entire architecture of the world economy up to the oil crises of the 1970s – led by the leading Greek economist Kyriakos Varvaressos. In 1947 he was appointed assistant and then full professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as chairman of the Department of Economics from 1956 to 1959. He continued his academic career during the dictatorship years, when he worked as a professor of economics at the University of Stockholm (1968-69) and York University (1969-1974), where he also served as director of graduate studies. He married successively Christina Rasias, a Greek-American psychiatrist, Margarita Chad (with whom he had four children, George (Prime Minister of Greece since 2009 with PASOK), Sophia, Nikos and Antrikos) and Dimitra Lianis. His daughter Emilia Nimbloom was born out of wedlock in 1969.
He returned to Greece with his family from the USA on 16 January 1961 and at the suggestion of the then Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis, he became Chairman of the Board of Directors and Scientific Director of the newly established Centre for Planning and Economic Research (CEPE), as well as Advisor to the Bank of Greece.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1964 with the Centre Union. He participated in the government of his father, George Papandreou, initially as Minister of the Presidency and shortly afterwards as Deputy Minister of Coordination. His economic discourse operates within the official framework of the economic orthodoxy of the time. After all, his academic career in the USA until his arrival in Greece was part of the mainstream of American economic thought of the time. Thus he followed the then prevalent concept of reformist economic policy for backward countries, which sought to combine the strengthening of demand through the increase of popular incomes with the direct productive activity of the state, in order to give the necessary growth momentum, to fill the production and industrial gaps, and to gradually substitute imports. He resigned shortly afterwards after much pressure from other tendencies within the party and rallied the so-called centre-left wing of the Centre Union around him. On 25 April 1965 he was again made Deputy Minister of Coordination, and a month later he was accused of being the instigator and leader in the “ASPIDA” case and the conspiratorial Helicon Project.
Already from those turbulent years (1965-1967) Andreas Papandreou won the love of the great majority of former EAMites and ELASites who would continue to support him until the end, but his relations with the leadership of the Left were characterised by mutual suspicion. In general, Andreas Papandreou was more interested in the ”ordinary people” of the Left than in its leaders, whom he considered obsolete and not particularly intelligent.
On 12 October 1966, thousands of his fans welcomed Andreas Papandreou, who was returning from a 12-day tour of Scandinavia. A banner read: “Welcome Kennedy of Greece”. The main reason for this triumphant reception was that the day before his departure he had been prosecuted for ”conspiracy to commit acts of high treason” against those involved in the ASPIDA organisation, whose political mastermind was accused by his conservative opponents of being Andreas Papandreou. “This dynamic demonstration of determination in the struggle for democracy and the displays of affection of the Athenian people for me alarmed the royal circles, the American services, the parastate and of course the Stephanopoulos government”, Andreas Papandreou himself later wrote in his book “Democracy in the Detail”. Immediately afterwards A. Papandreou made a tour of Crete at the head of a group of eighty deputies of the Centre Union, where he was praised, thus causing great concern within his party, and even his own father, who was contemplating the consequences of the rapid rise of his son”s political power, who was defending increasingly radical positions.
In the coup d”état of 21 April 1967, Andreas Papandreou was arrested by the junta of the Colonels and imprisoned. In the following days, United States President Lyndon Johnson intervened on behalf of Papandreou and other political leaders. In prison, Papandreou was awaiting trial in the ASPIDA case on charges of preparing a military coup to establish a socialist dictatorship, dethrone King Constantine and remove Greece from NATO, and wrote a nine-page autobiographical memo for his apology. He was released, however, after the granting of a partial pardon following Constantine”s failed anti-movement in December 6 thanks to American intervention following intense pressure and protests to President Johnson by leading US academics and intellectuals, including John Kenneth Galbraith, a personal friend of his from his Harvard years. On 16 January 1968, he left the country and founded the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), which he led and led in anti-dictatorship activities in many Western countries, and to which many of the well-known PASOK cadres rallied. The PAK was originally based in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
From his return to Greece in 1961 until the imposition of the dictatorship, Andreas Papandreou had denounced the system of power at the time (the parastate, conspiratorial organisations, economic interests), focusing in particular on the terrorising of the province by the Gendarmerie and the National Defence Battalions (TEA), starting his confrontation with the “old guerrillas”, which he had declared must be dismantled definitively and irrevocably. At the same time, in a very short time he became the most popular Greek politician, despite the constant attacks by some of the press. He came into conflict with some very important associates of his father, such as the banker and politician Stavros Kostopoulos. Andreas Papandreou wanted the creation of a principled party with a specific ideology and a strong organisation at national level, which was strongly resisted by the ”barons” of the Centre Union. Moreover, the barons of the Venizelist faction were concerned about his great popularity and criticized Andreas as a ”parachutist of politics”, i.e. that he had appeared out of nowhere and within a year or two had become the most recognizable and popular figure in Greek politics and demanded to decide everything.
Andreas Papandreou was initially very distrustful of the Metapolition of 24 July 1974 and took the decision to return to Greece only in mid-August. However, he immediately became active and within a few weeks he presented his positions for the establishment of a new party. On 3 September 1974, in one of the rooms of the King Palace Hotel, Andreas Papandreou announced the foundation of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement with the famous “Declaration of 3 September”, as it has been called ever since. The editing of the declaration was entrusted by Papandreou himself to the leading members of the PAC, Ioannis Zafeiropoulos, later MP for the prefecture of Ilia, university professor Manolis Papathomopoulos and Damianos Vassiliadis, while a large part of the declaration was written by Kostas Simitis. Present at the announcement of the declaration were PAK cadres, fighters persecuted by the Junta, youth from the Polytechnic uprising and youth of the Generation 1-1-4. The declaration stated the reasons for the foundation and the basic positions of the movement.
On 11 December 1974, Konstantinos Karamanlis said in Parliament “Greece belongs to the Western world”. Papandreou replied “We prefer to belong to the Greeks”.
The fear that the Armed Forces would possibly stop Andreas Papandreou”s rise to power was annihilated by the very large popularity of PASOK in this area. Andreas Papandreou had denounced the group of Hun officers for rape of democracy, barbarism and criminal stupidity in connection with the loss of Cyprus, but he believed that, free of the Hun, the officer corps was “the cutting edge of the vision of national renaissance”: a disproportionately large number of PASOK politicians under Andreas Papandreou were retired officers, and after 1981 some even became ministers (Ioannis Charalampopoulos, Antonis Drosogiannis, Nikolaos Kouris).
The slogan of “change” and the triptych “National Independence, Popular Sovereignty and Social Liberation” rallied around Andreas Papandreou and his movement a wide range of political and social forces that were not always inspired by common convictions.
During the Papandreou administration, national reconciliation was pursued, the National Liberation Front (EAM) was recognised by the official state as an organisation of the National Resistance and the rights of its fighters, while the files on many of them maintained by the Security Service were pulped. The purpose of this decision was partly to repatriate many Greek political refugees from the Civil War era. During his term of office, local branches of the Union of Women of Greece operated. Also, in 1984, the Security Corps, the Gendarmerie and the City Police were unified and their merger created the present Greek Police. The abolition of the Gendarmerie in particular was received with unprecedented feelings of relief by left-wing citizens, as it had been identified with the authoritarian practices of right-wing governments, hence the widespread “fear of the gendarme”.
In the field of education, PASOK”s reform was expressed in two basic bills, the Framework Law for the operation of Higher Education Institutions (Law 1268-1982) and Law 156685 on Basic and Secondary Education. The former abolished the institution of the seat in universities by introducing the four levels of teaching and research staff, institutionalised the co-administration bodies of students and professors, and renamed the KATEE into TEI. The second attempted a mainly structural transformation of education, seeking greater involvement of parents and pupils in school affairs, and replaced the institution of the inspector with that of the School Counsellor.
The National Health System was also established, the objective values of real estate were introduced and on 1 January 1987 the Value Added Tax was introduced.
There were also two successive devaluations of the drachma, in 1983 and 1985, which helped the country”s export capacity but reduced the purchasing power of citizens, making imported goods much more expensive.
Andreas Papandreou used “out of NATO” and “out of the EEC” as his election slogans in 1981. Another slogan against the EEC used by PASOK was “EEC, the lions” den”.
The first official “overall position” of the Papandreou government on the negotiation of the Mandate (and the Community as a whole) was made a week after the elections, on 26 October 1981, at the General Affairs Council, by the then Deputy Foreign Minister Asimakis Fotilas. The submitted document set out the problems facing the Greek economy, and proceeded to make Community policy proposals “in order to bridge inter-regional disparities and strengthen the countries of southern Europe”.
Andreas Papandreou, a few months after taking over the government of the country, submitted a memorandum to the EEC in which he essentially requested the renegotiation of the terms of our country”s accession to the European Community. His proposal was rejected on the part of the special privileges, but the part of the financial support that led to the PPAs was finally accepted.
During his administration Greece did not withdraw from the EEC and NATO because of the funds secured by Andreas Papandreou with remarkable negotiating skills, while the contract with the US government for the US bases was renewed in 1983, providing that, within eighteen months after the end of 1988, both governments would have the right to close the bases. This happened between 1990 and 1992, in fact on the initiative of the US side, which closed the most important bases due to the end of the Cold War under the government of Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
In March 1985, the European Council proposed the Mediterranean Integrated Programmes (MIPs), the implementation of which was aimed at improving the socio-economic structures of the less developed regions of the Community. In order to secure aid for the country, Andreas Papandreou did not hesitate to directly threaten Jacques Delors, who had taken over the Presidency of the Commission in January 1985, that he would veto the entry of Spain and Portugal into the Community. Six of the seven MOEP programmes corresponded to the six departments to which Greece was then divided (North Greece, West Greece, Central Greece, Aegean Islands, Crete and Attica), while the last one was thematic (MOEP Information Technology). The implementation of MOEPs in Greece was initially carried out in the period 1983-1989 and extended until 1993. According to a study by the Bank of Greece, ”the implementation of MOEPs in Greece was unsatisfactory due to insufficient preparation and lack of experience. This is evident from the fact that the IPA funds were carried over and incorporated into the CSF 1989-93. At the same time, however, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The importance of the MTOs, however, was much greater than the additional resources approved for Greece at the time because they launched the effort to develop structural policy on the part of the EU, which crystallised in 1988 in the new structural policy, the first ”Delors package”.”
Margaret Thatcher, the conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who was an opponent of the welfare state and benefits in the South and clashed many times with Andreas Papandreou, said of him:
“I didn”t like him, but he never left an EEC Summit without taking something for his country.”
His foreign policy was characterised by support for the so-called “non-aligned world”, to which he considered Greece to belong, and by rhetoric against American imperialism. This attitude helped the country greatly, increasing its importance in international relations, while also showing the Western allies that Greek compliance with their suggestions was no longer a given.
The governments of Andreas Papandreou after 1981 were the first in post-war Greece to formulate the country”s National Defence strategy based mainly on Greek needs, and not on NATO (American) needs, focusing on Turkey and not on the northern communist countries (which was the case after WWII). From 1947 to 1981, the US had more influence on Greek defense planning than the leadership of the Greek Armed Forces itself.
Papandreou”s international policy also sharpened relations with Israel. In February 1977, eight months after the hijacking of an Air France plane carrying Israeli passengers who were eventually flown from Tel Aviv to Entebbe, Uganda, Papandreou praised Ugandan dictator Inti Amin: ”He is fighting against the metropolitan centres of the West and he himself is their target. That in itself places him, on the world chessboard, in the realm of the anti-imperialist powers.” Later in 1977, Papandreou traveled to Muammar Gaddafi”s Libya, of whose regime he said “it was not a military dictatorship. On the contrary. It was a government on the model of the demos of the ancient Athenians.” These gestures of friendship towards Non-Aligned Movement regimes were intended to strengthen the country”s international presence and to seek diplomatic support for national issues: Andreas Papandreou believed that his predecessors had shown unacceptable compliance because of the doctrine of ”we belong to the West”, which required solidarity with the great rival, Turkey, something he was not prepared to do.
He generally maintained excellent relations with the Arab world: he was in favour of an independent Palestinian state and maintained close friendships with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. For these very friendly relations, Andreas Papandreou was accused by conservative circles in the West of harbouring international terrorism, especially after it became clear that Gaddafi”s Libya had supported the Lockerbie terrorist attack, the largest since September 11, 2001.
One of his positions in the foreign sphere, which was also criticised by the opposition and European public opinion, but greatly supported by the communist left, was his disavowal of the movement and the efforts of the Polish activist (and later President of the Polish Republic) Lech Walesa, against the communist regime in Poland, and his friendly relations with General Wojciech Jaruzelski. The relationship with the Polish regime led, after negotiations, to an agreement on the repatriation of Greek political refugees from the Civil War to Greece.
In February 1982, Andreas Papandreou paid an official visit to Cyprus in order to show to the Cypriots and internationally the determination of his government to stand by the Hellenes of Cyprus. It was the first visit of a Greek Prime Minister to Cyprus since the invasion and it took place despite the opposition of Turkey, the United States and other countries. Shortly afterwards, in September 1982, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited Athens, thanking Greece for its attitude towards the Israelis. The Papandreou government effectively contributed to the operation to transport PLO fighters from Lebanon to Tunisia and other Arab countries in ferries chartered by Greek shipowners with the help of the UN and the French government.
One of his best-known initiatives was in 1985 the successful arbitration of Greece in the conflict between France and Libya, which were supporting opposing forces in Chad, and in which a compromise solution was found after a meeting in Crete between Papandreou, Mitterrand and Gaddafi known as the “Elounda Agreement”.
In 1987, the Turkish research vessel “Sismik” starts research in the Greek Aegean continental shelf, causing a serious crisis, with the two countries reaching the brink of war. Andreas Papandreou is adamant and orders the mobilization of the Armed Forces, resulting in the successful confrontation of the Turks and the deterrence of their leadership”s objectives (the vessel was eventually withdrawn from Greek territorial waters). Immediately afterwards, intense negotiations began between Andreas Papandreou and the then Prime Minister of Turkey, Turgut Ozal, resulting in a meeting between Papandreou and Ozal in Davos, Switzerland, on 30 and 31 January 1988, in the framework of the International Economic Forum. There the policy of ”no war” was agreed and for a while there was optimism for an improvement in bilateral relations in the ”spirit of Davos”. On 6 June 1988, Andreas Papandreou, in a debate on a motion of no-confidence by the New Democracy, defended his policy on Greek-Turkish relations, but admitted that mistakes had been made (the well-known mea culpa, a phrase that Kostas Karamanlis would later use). The successful handling of the 1987 crisis increased Andreas Papandreou”s popularity in Greece, while Özal was heavily criticised by the Turkish opposition for being soft.
Andreas Papandreou was one of the six leaders of the Four Continents (Europe, Africa, Asia, America) who took the initiative to move for world peace and disarmament of the superpowers. Along with Andreas Papandreou, the Six Nations Movement was joined by Swedish President Ulf Palme, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Argentine President Raul Alfonsín, Mexican President Miguel Delamadrit and Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. Andreas Papandreou had excellent relations with many European leaders. François Mitterrand, Olof Palme and Slobodan Milosevic were some of them.
By a part of the international, and especially by the majority of the Western press of the time, Andreas Papandreou was characterized as a populist. Analysts such as Nicolas Demertzis and historian Richard Klong described the 1980s as the “decade of populism”.
On March 9, 1985, as the end of Mr. Karamanlis”s end of his term as President of the Republic, Andreas Papandreou (although it is said that he had given assurances privately that he would re-nominate Karamanlis), unexpectedly proposed Christos Sarzetakis (known for his brave stance in the Lambrakis murder case) as President and at the same time announced the beginning of a process for the revision of the Constitution, with the aim of fully establishing parliamentarianism. This sudden initiative caused a wave of enthusiasm among his supporters, but also an outburst of anger among his opponents.
There had been a period of uncertainty, as many believed that Andreas Papandreou would nominate Karamanlis for a second term, something that all the publishing groups, some members of the moderate left and of course the right-wing opposition were pushing hard for. Andreas Papandreou himself, however, had not taken a clear position in public.
In his introduction to the PASOK Central Committee, Andreas Papandreou said that the revision would finally establish real parliamentary democracy in the country, with the undemocratic elements of the 1975 constitution being eliminated:
“With this proposal we said no to the integration of PASOK into the system. We have confirmed once again the deeply democratic and radical character of this Movement, which redeems the people from the shackles that have been broken by the oligarchy, foreign and local, and its spokesmen…. Indeed, the dimensions of our decision are now becoming clear. We were facing, in the problem of choosing a President of the Republic, perhaps the most important question of the last decades. With our proposal also to revise the Constitution, those provisions of the Constitution in particular which define the Presidential powers and the powers of the Parliament and the people”s government respectively, the President of the Republic becomes truly non-partisan, he becomes the symbol of the unity of the nation. The powers which the 1975 Constitution had given to the President of the Republic made him, in part, not only a supreme ruler neutral vis-à-vis the parties, but also gave him considerable decisive political power, which in Parliamentary States is reserved for Parliaments, and the Governments which Parliaments support.”
The opponents of Andreas Papandreou accused him of a “political coup” and “deceiving” Karamanlis, and criticized the way his decision was taken, which was made by him and his close circle of associates (Menios Koutsogiorgas, Antonis Livanis) without the involvement of the government and the party, whose base of course did not want Karamanlis in any way. In fact, the process of electing the new President (the famous “pink ballots”) was another case of strong criticism from the opposition. On the other hand, supporters of Papandreou and the KKE (whose members had been persecuted, imprisoned and exiled by the 1955-1963 Karamanlis governments) welcomed Andreas” move as an important step towards democratisation of political life and as a restoration of the post-civil war system of power: Sarzetakis was eventually elected President and the Constitution was revised with the votes of PASOK and the KKE. The removal of Karamanlis from the highest state office greatly helped Andreas Papandreou”s victory in the June 1985 elections, in the sense of rallying anti-right-wing voters.
In 1988 the financial scandal of Koskotas erupted, in which members of the government of the time and Andreas Papandreou himself were accused of being involved. Papandreou described the accusations against him as a conspiracy by ”dark reactionary forces” and ”foreign circles” to ”destabilise” Greece. A period of great political tension followed. In the same year, Andreas Papandreou was rushed to London”s Herfield Hospital and underwent major heart surgery by the famous Egyptian heart surgeon Mahdi Yakub. These events lead to the fall of the PASOK government in the elections of 18 June 1989.
During the period of the Tzannis Tzannetakis coalition government, the MPs of New Democracy and Coalition referred Andreas Papandreou to the Special Court, which marginally acquitted him of charges of involvement in the Koskotas scandal and of interception of telephone conversations by the National Intelligence Service.
The trial on the Koskotas scandal began on 16 March 1991, which he did not attend, denouncing it as a plot by his political opponents and a frame-up against him and against PASOK. Dimitris Tsovolas and George Petsos were convicted in this trial, while their co-defendant Menios Koutsogiorgas died during the trial.
Andreas Papandreou took his share of the political responsibility not only because during the period when George Koskotas was active he was Prime Minister, but also because, according to him, “his government failed to prevent the financial rise of a man without a surface, who turned out to be an impostor”. He denied, however, any connection with the criminal side of the case.
Years later, in the TV show “Anaprotroki” by journalist Yannis Pretenderis on Mega Channel, the then Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis stated that he regretted the referral of Andreas Papandreou to the Special Court, but stressed that he had taken this action because he wanted to keep his election promise.
In the 1980s Greek society changed radically and the governments of Andreas Papandreou played a leading role in this transformation. The changes were deeper and more radical in the provinces, and not so much in Athens, which explains PASOK”s better performance there. Almost immediately after 1981, the province was finally and irrevocably freed from the “fear of the gendarme”, the position of women was greatly improved, cultural and sports clubs were created throughout the country with the active support of Melina Mercouri, while the National Health System of Giorgos Gennimata brought modern medical care for the first time to many remote areas of the country; wages increased significantly, resulting in the emergence of a consumerism similar to the rest of Western Europe, the empowerment of local government led to an unprecedented level of popular participation in socio-political issues, and PASOK”s party organisations fought and often dismantled the power of traditional power mechanisms which were usually based on the powerful “jakias” of each region.
However, the adventure of the Koskotas scandal and the political tension of the past years have now seriously strained his health and on 21 November 1995 he is admitted to the Onassis Heart Surgery Centre with serious health problems (beginning of pneumonia). The pressures exerted on him forced him to sign his resignation in January 1996, stating that ”the country”s problems cannot wait”.
On 23 June 1996 Andreas Papandreou dies after an acute ischemic attack at his home in Ekali. He was buried on 26 June 1996 at the 1st Cemetery of Athens with the honours of a serving head of state, something that had last happened in Greece in 1964, when the then King Pavlos died. His death caused a wave of emotion throughout the country, and crowds ranging from “hundreds of thousands” to “millions” attended Andreas Papandreou”s funeral. A total of 12 eulogies were delivered by Greek and foreign dignitaries, the first by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the last by Andreas Papandreou”s son and then Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs George Papandreou, while almost 100 political personalities from around the world attended, an unprecedented number for a Greek politician. Among them were US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (representing President Bill Clinton), the President of the European Parliament Klaus Hens, the President of the Socialist International and former Prime Minister of France Pierre Morois (who also delivered one of the eulogies), the President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides, the President of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Wim Kok, former Prime Minister of Spain and close friend of Andreas Papandreou Felipe Gonthaleth, Prime Minister of Albania Alexander Mexi, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Zan Vindenov, Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratian, Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Drnovcec, Foreign Minister of Germany Klaus Kinkel, Defence Minister Michael Portillo of Great Britain, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Ignatenko of Russia, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy of Canada, Vice President Ivan Kadras of Ukraine, Vice President and Foreign Minister Guido De Marco of Malta, Foreign Minister Eric Derike of Belgium, Foreign Minister of Turkey Emre Gyonensai and the leader of the Republican People”s Party of Turkey Erdal Inonu, Foreign Minister of Iran Ali Ahmar Velayati, Secretary General of the French Socialist Party Lionel Jospin, President of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Oscar Lafontaine, President of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament Pauline Green and many others.
Leaders and personalities from all over the world paid their last tribute to Andreas Papandreou, including the following:
He was elected as a member of Parliament with the Centre Union in 1964, where he remained until 1967 with the declaration of the dictatorship of the Colonels. Post-independence, Andreas Papandreou served as an MP for PASOK throughout his term as its president. Initially in the 1974 elections he was elected in the Electoral District of Thessaloniki. In the 1977 elections he was elected to the Electoral District of Achaia. From the 1981 elections until 1989 he was elected as a deputy in the Athens constituency A, and from the November 1989 elections until 1993 he was elected in the Athens constituency B. From 1993 until his death he was a Member of Parliament for the Dodecanese.
Andreas Papandreou was the son of the also former Prime Minister George Papandreou, who was also known as the “Old Man of Democracy”. Andreas Papandreou”s mother was Sophia Mineiko (daughter of the Polish Sigmund Mineiko). His son George Papandreou served as President of PASOK and also as Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic.Apart from his politics, Andreas Papandreou often occupied the media with his social life, while aspects of his personal “life style” were imitated by many Greeks.
Andreas Papandreou has written (and contributed to) numerous works, including: