Samaras, Antonis

Samaras, Antonis äntōˈnēs sämäräsˈ [key], 1951–, Greek political leader, premier of Greece (2012–15), b. Athens, grad. Amherst (1974), Harvard (M.B.A., 1976). He was first elected to parliament in 1977 as a member of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party. He served as minister of finance (1989), minister of foreign affairs (1989–90, 1990–92), and minister of culture (2009). His hardline position against the use of “Macedonia” (see North Macedonia) for the newly independent former Yugoslavian republic led (1992) to his ouster from Mitsotakis's government and ND. He founded the Political Spring party, but dissolved it (2004) and rejoined ND, becoming ND leader in 2009. He opposed (2010) an international aid plan to end Greece's budget and debt problems that was supported by Premier George Papandreou, but backed a larger bailout in 2011. The May, 2012, parliamentary elections led to a political impasse; new elections in June resulted in an ND-led coalition government with Samaras as premier. After parliament failed to elect a president in late 2014, Samaras was forced to call new elections, which were won by Syriza, an antiausterity party. He later resigned as ND leader after Greeks voted (2015) against EU proposals for more austerity measures as a condition for further aid.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Modern Greek History: Biographies