Antonis Samaras

Antonis Samaras

Antonis (or Andonis) Samaras (born May 23 1951) is a Greek politician and former Member of the European Parliament for New Democracy; part of the European People's Party. He is best known for the controversy he caused in 1993, when he effectively caused the New Democracy government, of which he used to be a member, to fall from power.

Born in Athens, Samaras graduated from Amherst College in 1974 with a degree in economics and from Harvard University in 1976 with an MBA. He is a member of the Greek Parliament (1977-1996 and 2007-present) as well as a former Minister of Economic Affairs (1989).

He was Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs in the New Democracy government of Konstantinos Mitsotakis (1989-1992). A nationalist hardliner during the crucial first years of the Macedonia naming dispute, he was removed from his post in 1992. Samaras caused the government's fall from power by leaving New Democracy and founding his own party, Political Spring. This move was seen by a very large majority of the New Democracy voters as treacherous, largely because it contributed to the return of PASOK, the largest opposing party, to power, through the 1993 general election that followed. To this day, a large number of New Democracy voters refer to Antonis Samaras as "the traitor", not having forgotten his controversial act back in 1993.

Political Spring gained 4.9% in the 1993 general election, earning ten seats in the Greek Parliament. It gained 8.7% in the elections in the 1994 European Parliament elections, earning two seats. Its decline started in the 1996 general election, when it gained 2.94%, just below the 3% threshold necessary to enter parliament.

It participated in the 1999 European Parliament elections, but it got 2.3% which was not enough to elect MEPs.

Political Spring did not participate in the 2000 general election, but Antonis Samaras publicly supported the New Democracy party. This move was seen by many as an attempt to facilitate his acceptance back into the New Democracy party; indeed, if this move were not to take place, Antonis Samaras' political career would be effectively over, as Political Spring had been disapproved time and time again by Greek voters. Before the 2004 general election, Samaras rejoined New Democracy and he was elected as a MEP in the 2004 European elections.

In the 2007 Greek legislative election he was elected to the Greek Parliament for Messinia, and consequently resigned from the European Parliament.

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