Prime Minister of Greece

The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Πρωθυπουργός της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας, Pro̱thypourgós ti̱s Elli̱nikí̱s Di̱mokratías), colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister of Greece (Greek: Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας, Pro̱thypourgós ti̱s Elládas), is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The incumbent prime minister is Alexis Tsipras, who took office on 21 September 2015.

The prime minister's official seat (but not residence) is the Maximos Mansion in the centre of Athens. The office is described in the Constitution either as Prime Minister or President of the Government (Πρόεδρος της Κυβερνήσεως). This is the reason why the prime minister is also addressed as "Mr. President".

Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic
Πρωθυπουργός της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας
Coat of Arms of Greece (Monochromatic)
DIE LINKE Bundesparteitag 10. Mai 2014 Alexis Tsipras -7
Alexis Tsipras

since 21 September 2015
StyleHis Excellency[1]
Member of
Reports toParliament
SeatMaximos Mansion
AppointerPresident of Greece
Term lengthNo fixed term (dependent on the Parliament)
Inaugural holderSpyridon Trikoupis
Formation13 January 1822
WebsitePrime Minister's Office

Election and appointment of the Prime Minister

The prime minister is officially appointed by the President of Greece.

According to Article 37 of the Greek Constitution, the President shall appoint the leader of the political party with the absolute majority of seats in the parliament as prime minister. If no party has the absolute majority, the president shall give the leader of the party with a relative majority (plurality) an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a government enjoying the confidence of parliament.

If this possibility cannot be ascertained, the President shall give the exploratory mandate to the leader of the second largest party in Parliament, and if this proves to be unsuccessful, to the leader of the third largest party in parliament. Each exploratory mandate shall be in force for three days.

If all exploratory mandates prove to be unsuccessful, the President summons all party leaders, and if the impossibility to form a cabinet enjoying the confidence of the parliament is confirmed, he shall attempt to form a cabinet composed of all parties in parliament for the purpose of holding parliamentary elections. If this fails, he shall entrust the president of the Supreme Administrative Court or of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or of the Court of Auditors to form a cabinet as widely accepted as possible to carry out elections after he dissolves Parliament.

Therefore, the election of members of a certain party to parliament is the equivalent to a vote for that party's leader for prime minister.[2]

Oath of office

Religious oath of office

Before taking office, the Prime Minister is sworn-in at a religious ceremony inside the Presidential Mansion. Prime Ministers are sworn in by the Archbishop of Athens who is the head of the Church of Greece. The Archbishop begins with a few prayers and the Kyrie Eleison, and then the Prime Minister-Elect places his hand on the Bible placed in between two lit candles, all on a table between him and the Archbishop. Following after the Archbishop, the Prime Minister-Elect then recites the oath:

I swear in the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity to safeguard the Constitution and the laws and to serve the general interest of the Greek People.

The Archbishop then recites a few more blessings, and the participants make the sign of the cross three times. The Archbishop then congratulates the new Prime Minister, who then shakes hands with the President before the pertinent documents are signed.

Civil oath of office

In 2015 Alexis Tsipras, a self-proclaimed atheist, became the first Prime Minister to opt for a secular affirmation instead of the traditional religious oath. He was sworn in by President Karolos Papoulias instead of the Archbishop of Athens, and, in place of the above oath, recited[3] the affirmation:

Mr President, I would like to assure you, on my honour and conscience, that I will follow the Constitution and the laws and will always serve the general interest of the Greek People.

He then shook hands with the President, who congratulated him, before proceeding to sign the official documents as normal.

When Tsipras assumed the premiership again, on 21 September 2015, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos decided that the affirmation had to be more formal, as it follows:

I affirm, on my honour and conscience, that I will follow the Constitution and the laws and will serve the general interest of the Greek People.

Official seat of the Prime Minister

The Maximos Mansion (Greek: Μέγαρο Μαξίμου) has been the official seat of the Prime Minister of Greece since 1982. It is located in central Athens, near Syntagma Square. Although the building contains the offices of the Head of the Greek Government, it is not used as the residence of the Prime Minister.

History of the office

During the revolution (1821–1832)

During the Greek War of Independence, different regions of Greece that were free of Ottoman control began establishing democratic systems for self-government, such as the Peloponnesian Senate. Meanwhile, a series of overarching National Assemblies, such as the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, met from time-to-time to provide overall coordination. The First Assembly elected a 5-member executive council, which was headed by Alexandros Mavrokordatos.[4]

The Executive continued to govern Greece until 1828, when Ioannis Kapodistrias assumed the governance of the state as "Governor of Greece"—simultaneously head of state and of the government.[4] Kapodistrias was assassinated in 1831 and his government, presided over by his brother Augustinos, collapsed the following year. It was replaced by a series of collective governmental councils, which lasted until 1833, when Greece became a monarchy.

Under Otto's absolute monarchy (1832–1843)

In 1832, Greece's nascent experiment with democracy was ended and a monarchy was established with the underage Bavarian Prince Otto as king. Initially the government was led by a regency council made up of Bavarians. The president of this council, Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg was the de facto head of government under Otto. Later Otto dismissed his Bavarian advisers and wielded power as an absolute monarch, effectively as head of state and his own head of government.[5]

Constitutional monarchy (1843–1910)

Naval rank flag of the Prime Minister of Greece
Naval rank flag of the Prime Minister of Greece

King Otto's reign as an absolute monarch came to an end when agitators for a constitution (as had been promised when the monarchy was established) rose up in the 3 September Revolution in 1843. Otto was forced to grant a constitution and Andreas Metaxas took power; he is credited with being the first Greek to formally serve as "Prime Minister."[6]

Once the office of prime minister was established, the responsibility for self-government again fell to the Greek people. However, two factors maintained significant power for the crown: the Greek party structure was weak and client-based and the monarch was free to select any member of parliament to form a government.[5]

In 1862, Otto was finally deposed and the Greek people chose a new monarch in the person of King George I of Greece. In the next 15 years, the party structures began to evolve into more modern ideological parties with the Nationalist Party led by Alexandros Koumoundouros on the right and the more liberal New Party led by Charilaos Trikoupis. Trikoupis was successful after the election of 1874 in forcing the king to accept the "dedilomeni principle" (Greek: αρχή της δεδηλωμένης)--that the leader of the majority in parliament must be selected as prime minister by the king.[6]

The Nationalists were later led by Theodoros Deligiannis who famously said "was against everything Trikoupis was for." This two-party system existed until 1910, even as Georgios Theotokis took over the New Party after the death of Trikoupis in 1895 and the assassination of Deligiannis in 1905 which led to a splintering of parties on the conservative and nationalist side.

Upheaval, revolts and war (1910–1946)

In 1910, military officers sparked the fall of civilian government when they issued the Goudi Pronunciamento. This event led to the arrival in Greece of the Cretan politician Eleftherios Venizelos. His followers gathered in the Liberal Party, which, despite Venizelos' dominant status, constituted the first true party in the modern sense, in that it was formed around a progressive, liberal and pro-republican political agenda.

The Liberal Party was eventually opposed by the more conservative and pro-royalist People's Party, initially led by Dimitrios Gounaris. The antagonism between the two parties, and the supporters of monarchy and republicanism, would dominate the political landscape until after the Second World War.

See also


  1. ^ "ΣΥΓΧΡΟΝΟ ΕΓΧΕΙΡΙΔΙΟ ΕΘΙΜΟΤΥΠΙΑΣ - PDF". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Constitution of Greece".
  3. ^ "Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας - Πολιτική ορκωμοσία του πρωθυπουργού Αλέξη Τσίπρα".
  4. ^ a b Brewer, David. The Greek War of Independence. (Overlook Press, 2001).
  5. ^ a b Petropulos, John A., Politics and Statecraft in the Kingdom of Greece. (Princeton University Press, 1968)
  6. ^ a b Clogg, Richard. A Short History of Modern Greece. (Cambridge University Press, 1979). ISBN 0-521-32837-3

External links

Alexandros Koumoundouros

Alexandros Koumoundouros (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Κουμουνδούρος, 4 february 1815 – 26 February 1883) was a Greek politician. Born in Kampos, on the Messenian side of the Mani Peninsula, he was the son of Spyridon-Galanis Koumoundouros, the bey of the area during the last period of the administration of the region by the Ottoman Empire.

He was a political personality famous for his work towards national progress, his patriotism and unselfishness, despite his having been in office during a very unsettled period of Greek history.

Benizelos Roufos

Benizelos Roufos (Greek: Μπενιζέλος Ρούφος; 1795–1868) was a Greek politician and the 18th Prime Minister of Greece. Roufos was born in Patras in 1795, a scion of the wealthy Roufos-Kanakaris family. He was the son of Athanasios Kanakaris who fought during the Greek War of Independence. During the government of Ioannis Kapodistrias (1828–1830), Roufos became governor of Elis. Later he would also serve as Foreign Minister. In 1855, Roufos was elected Mayor of Patras, a post he held for three years. When King Otto was exiled in 1862, Roufos became one of three viceroys - along with Konstantinos Kanaris and Dimitrios Voulgaris - that held power from October 10, 1862 until October 19, 1863. Roufos served twice times as Prime Minister of Greece, with his first term interrupted for a few days in June 1863. He died in Patras on March 18, 1868.

Charilaos Trikoupis

Charilaos Trikoupis (Greek: Χαρίλαος Τρικούπης; July 11, 1832 – March 30, 1896) was a Greek politician who served as a Prime Minister of Greece seven times from 1875 until 1895.

Born in Nauplion in 1832, with family ties to Messolonghi, he was the son of Spiridon Trikoupis, a politician who was Prime Minister of Greece briefly in 1833, and Ekaterini Mavrokordatou, sister of Alexandros Mavrokordatos, who also served as a Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister of Greece

The Deputy Prime Minister of Greece (Greek: Αντιπρόεδρος της Κυβερνήσεως, "Vice-President of the Government"; older form: Αντιπρόεδρος του Υπουργικού Συμβουλίου, "Vice-President of the Ministerial Council") is the second senior-most member of the Greek Cabinet. Despite the English translation of the title, he does not actually deputize for the Prime Minister, rather it is a mostly honorific post for senior ministers, and is usually combined with another senior government portfolio (traditionally either Foreign Affairs, Finance or Defence) or a coordinating role over several ministries. The post is not permanent, rather it is created on an ad hoc basis, usually for the leaders of junior parties in coalition cabinets, and may be held by more than one person at once.

The current Deputy Prime Minister is Yannis Dragasakis, member of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in the coalition cabinet of Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA–ANEL coalition).

Dimitrios Maximos

Dimitrios E. Maximos (Greek: Δημήτριος Μάξιμος; 6 July 1873 – 17 October 1955) was a Greek banker and politician. He briefly served as Prime Minister of Greece after World War II.

Maximos was born on 6 July 1873 in Patras. He began his career in banking. Between 1933 and 1935, he became Foreign Minister of the government of Panagis Tsaldaris. He was Prime Minister of Greece in 1947. He died on 17 October 1955. His home in central Athens, the Maximos Mansion, serves since 1982 as the official seat of the Prime Minister of Greece.

Dimitrios Valvis

Dimitrios Valvis (Δημήτριος Βάλβης; 1808 or 1814 – 30 November 1892) was a Greek politician and judge, who served briefly as Prime Minister of Greece in May 1886.

Diomidis Kyriakos

Diomidis Anastasiou Kyriakos (Greek: Διομήδης Κυριάκος) (1811, Spetses – 1869, Pisa) was a Greek author, politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Greece. Kiriakos was born in 1811 on the island of Spetses. He was the younger brother of Ioannis Kyriakos, a vice-admiral who was killed in the siege of Messolonghi. He studied law at the universities of Pisa and Paris. In 1835, Kyriakos became public prosecutor of the Court of First Instance. In 1843, he helped draft the Constitution of Greece. In 1851, he became professor of constitutional law and, in 1862, a member of the committee to draft a new constitution. The following year, Kyriakos became Minister of Religion and Education and, between April and May 1863, he became the Prime Minister of Greece. Kyriakos authored several books on law and history. He died in Italy in 1869.

Emmanouil Tsouderos

Emmanouil Tsouderos (Greek: Εμμανουήλ Τσουδερός, also transliterated as Emmanuel Tsuderos; 19 July 1882 – 10 February 1956) was a political and financial figure of Greece. During World War II he served as Prime Minister of Greece from 1941 to 1944, for all but one week of that tenure as head of the Greek government in exile.

Epameinondas Deligeorgis

Epameinondas Deligeorgis (Greek: Επαμεινώνδας Δεληγεώργης, pronounced [epamiˌnonðas ðeliʝeˈorʝis]; January 10, 1829, Tripoli, Arcadia – May 14, 1879, Athens) was a Greek lawyer, newspaper reporter and politician, who served as the 20th Prime Minister of Greece. He was the son of Dimitrios Deligeorgis, a politician from Missolonghi who participated in the Greek War of Independence. Deligeorgis studied law at the University of Athens and entered politics in 1854. He was not a proponent of the Megali Idea (Great Idea) and thought that a better solution to the Eastern Question would be to improve the condition of the Greeks living in Ottoman-controlled Macedonia, Epirus, Thrace and Asia Minor by liberalising the Ottoman Empire. Deligeorgis was the person who, on October 10, 1862, declared the end of the reign of King Otto and the convening of a national assembly.

Georgios Theotokis

Georgios Theotokis (Greek: Γεώργιος Θεοτόκης, 1844 in Corfu – 12 January 1916 in Athens) was a Greek politician and Prime Minister of Greece, serving the post four times. He represented the New Party or Neoteristikon Komma (NK).

Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis

Kyriakoulis Petrou Mavromichalis (Greek: Κυριακούλης Μαυρομιχάλης, 1850–1916) was a Greek politician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who briefly served as the 30th Prime Minister of Greece.

Mavromichalis was born in Athens in 1850 into the renowned Mavromichalis family of Mani, which had fought during the Greek War of Independence. He was first elected to the Hellenic Parliament in 1879 and served as: Interior Minister (1895–1897, 1902–1903 and 1905) and Minister for Military Affairs (1904–1905), before becoming Prime Minister of Greece following the Goudi Revolt by the Military League and the fall of the Dimitrios Rallis government in 1909.

Under pressure from the League, Mavromichalis passed a large amount of ground-breaking legislation that the League demanded, including organization of the army, the justice and educational systems, and governmental organization.

Mavromichalis resigned as Prime Minister in January 1910, after a disagreement with the Military League. He died in Athens in 1916 and was buried with full honours.

He was a great-uncle of Princess Aspasia of Greece.

Lucas Papademos

Lucas Demetrios Papademos (Greek: Λουκάς Παπαδήμος; born 11 October 1947) is a Greek economist who served as Prime Minister of Greece from November 2011 to May 2012, leading a provisional government in the wake of the Greek debt crisis. He previously served as Vice President of the European Central Bank from 2002 to 2010 and Governor of the Bank of Greece from 1994 to 2002.

He was a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Financial Studies at the University of Frankfurt.

Panagiotis Pikrammenos

Panagiotis Pikrammenos (Greek: Παναγιώτης Πικραμμένος, pronounced [panaˈʝotis pikraˈmenos]; born 1945) is a Greek judge who served as caretaker Prime Minister of Greece in May–June 2012 after the legislative election in May 2012 resulted in an absence of majority.

Spyridon Trikoupis

Spiridon Trikoupis (Greek: Σπυρίδων Τρικούπης; April 20, 1788 – February 24, 1873) was a Greek statesman, diplomat, author and orator. He was the first Prime Minister of Greece (1833) and member of provisional governments of Greece since 1826.

He was born in Missolonghi and was son of the primate of Missolonghi, Ioannis Trikoupis. After studying in Paris and London, he became private secretary to Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford, Governor of the Ionian Islands.

During the Greek War of Independence, he occupied several important administrative and diplomatic posts. He was a member of the provisional government in 1826, a member of the national convention at Troezen in 1827, and president of the council and minister of foreign affairs in 1832. He was appointed the first Prime Minister of Greece in 1833. He was thrice Greek minister (ambassador) to London (1834–1837, 1841–1843 and 1849–1862), and in 1850 envoy-extraordinary to Paris.

His funeral oration for his friend Lord Byron, delivered in the cathedral of Missolonghi in 1824 was translated into many languages. A collection of his earlier religious and political orations was published in Paris in 1836. He was the author of Istoria tis Ellinikis Epanastaseos (London, 1853–1857), his work on the history of the Greek revolution. He was the father of Charilaos Trikoupis, also a Prime Minister of Greece.

Stefanos Stefanopoulos

Stefanos Stefanopoulos (Greek: Στέφανος Στεφανόπουλος, 3 July 1898, Pyrgos, Elis – 4 October 1982, Athens) was a Greek politician, and served as Prime Minister of Greece from 1965 to 1966.

He was a moderate conservative, and served as a cabinet member during Alexandros Papagos' government. He even served as acting Prime Minister for a day after the latter's death on 4 October 1955.

On 17 September 1965, he became Prime Minister of Greece during the period of the "Apostasia", supported by conservatives and defecting members of the Centre Union party. Unable to gain a parliamentary vote of confidence, his government fell on 22 December 1966.

Thrasyvoulos Zaimis

Thrasyvoulos Zaimis (Greek: Θρασύβουλος Ζαΐμης, 1822–1880) was a Greek politician and the 21st Prime Minister of Greece. Zaimis was born in Kerpini, Kalavryta on 29 October 1822, the son of Andreas Zaimis, a soldier and government leader before the recognition of Greece's freedom from the Ottoman Empire. Zaimis studied law in France and was first elected to the Hellenic Parliament in 1850. He served four terms as President of Parliament and also as minister in several governments. In 1864, he was the representative of the Greek government who accepted the cession of the Ionian Islands from the British government, a gift that coincided with the enthronement of King George of Greece. Zaimis served two terms as Prime Minister and died in Athens on 27 October 1880. Thrasyvoulos Zaimis was the father of Alexandros Zaimis, also a Prime Minister of Greece.

Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou

Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou (Greek: Βασιλική Θάνου-Χριστοφίλου, pronounced [vasiliˌci ˌθanu xristoˈfilu]; born 1950), also known as Vassiliki Thanou, is a Greek judge who served as caretaker Prime Minister of Greece from 27 August to 21 September 2015, in the run-up to the 20 September 2015 elections. She was Greece's first ever female Prime Minister and the 184th since 1822.

Thanou-Christophilou has served as the President of the Court of Cassation, one of Greece's three supreme courts, since 1 July 2015, and is currently the most senior judge in Greece. She teaches civil law at the National School of Judges of Greece and has been, since 2012, the President of the Greek Association of Judges and Prosecutors (SAD).

Venizelos–Tittoni agreement

The Venizelos–Tittoni agreement was a secret non-binding agreement between the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tommaso Tittoni, in July 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference.

Zinovios Valvis

Zinovios Zafirios I. Valvis (Greek: Ζηνόβιος-Ζαφείριος Ι. Βάλβης; 1800 – August 25, 1886) was a Greek politician and the 16th Prime Minister of Greece. Valvis was born in 1800 in Missolonghi. He first studied theology but switched to law, furthering his studies in Italy. Valvis married Arsinoe Ratzikosta and fathered nine children. He twice served as prime minister but fell on hard times in his old age, dying impoverished in 1872 after refusing a state pension so as not to be a burden on the Greek state. Zinovios Valvis was the brother of Dimitrios Valvis who also served as Prime Minister. He died in Missolonghi in 1886.

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