Georgios Kafantaris

Georgios Kafantaris (alternative spellings: Kafandaris; 13 October 1873[1] – 28 August 1946) was a Greek politician, born in Anatoliki Fragkista, Evrytania.

Georgios Kaphantaris 1927
Georgios Kaphantaris in 1927


On 9 January 1919, Kafantaris joined the Cabinet of Greece under Prime Minister of Greece Eleftherios Venizelos as Minister of Agriculture. He went on to disagree with him as far as holding the Greek legislative election, 1920 while the Hellenic Army was still involved in the Greco-Turkish War. Venizelos accepted his resignation on 4 February 1920.

In the elections that ensued, Venizelos' Liberal Party was ousted. Kafantaris left the country for French Third Republic and the Kingdom of Italy.

He only returned following the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War and was named Minister of Justice. On 19 February 1924, Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos resigned due to health reasons and nominated Kafantaris as his successor. Kafantaris served as Prime Minister for almost a month and then resigned himself on 12 March 1924 after a failed assassination attempt. He was succeeded by Alexandros Papanastasiou.

Kafantaris opposed the dictatorship of Theodoros Pangalos and, after its overthrow, took part in several more governments as Minister of Finance.

He died in Athens in 1946, and is buried in the First Cemetery of Athens.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Eleftherios Venizelos
Prime Minister of Greece
19 February 1924 – 12 March 1924
Succeeded by
Alexandros Papanastasiou
  1. ^ Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
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Fragkista (Greek: Φραγκίστα) is a former municipality in Evrytania, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Agrafa, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 177.261 km2. Population 1,547 (2011).


The term idionymon (Greek: ιδιώνυμο, "special illegal act", delictum sui generis) was defined by a Greek law, voted in 1929 (Law 4229), after being introduced by the Eleftherios Venizelos government. It was a law "concerning safety measures for the social establishment and protection of the freedom". It was aiming to penalize the "insurrectional" ideas and in particular to fire prosecution against communists, anarchists and enforce repression against the unionist mobilizations.

The law prescribed a penalty for more than six months imprisonment for everyone "who tries to apply ideas that have as an obvious target the violent overthrow of the current social system, or who acts in propagandizing their application...". It was the first legal measure against the Communist Party of Greece and initiated a series of urgent legislation acts, established by the Greek state against the left wing. The idionymon accusation was enough for the government to ban and dissolve most of the workers organizations at the end of 1930. According to the law, the strike was no more a means for promoting political requests, but a disturbance of the social peace and unionism was an illegal act.

The establishment of the idionymon resulted from the perceived need to defend the gains of the (partially completed) reformation towards a bourgeois democracy in Greece, mainly led by Venizelos' Liberal party. The Second Hellenic Republic was inherently unstable, and furthermore, by the late 1920s, the old political dualism between Venizelists and Royalists was beginning to be threatened by agitation in the emerging working class. The defeat of the Asia Minor Campaign in 1922, which resulted in the arrival of over 1.5 million refugees, mostly impoverished and living in atrocious conditions, resulted in the emergence, for the first time, of a large urban working class, to whom the radical/communist ideas of the Russian Revolution might appeal.

Two of the leaders of the liberal opposition in Parliament, Alexandros Papanastasiou and Georgios Kafantaris, had expressed strong disagreement during the vote. It is remarkable that Eleftherios Venizelos rejected Papanastasiou's proposal to use idionymon not only against communists, but also against fascists, although it is perhaps understandable in light of their low political presence in Greece (relative to socialists) and Venizelos' ongoing diplomatic rapprochement with Fascist Italy.

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The Progressive Party (Greek: Προοδευτικό Κόμμα) was a political party in Greece in the 1920s and 1930s led by Georgios Kafantaris.

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