- New Democracy (Greece)
Leader Antonis Samaras Founder Konstantinos Karamanlis Founded 4 October 1974 Headquarters 340 Syggrou Ave.,
176 73 Kallithea, Athens
Political position Centre-right International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party European Parliament Group European People's Party Official colours Blue Parliament European Parliament Peripheries Website www.nd.gr Politics of Greece
New Democracy (Greek: Νέα Δημοκρατία, Néa Dimokratía, also known by its acronym ΝΔ, ND,) is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic. After serving as the Cabinet of Greece from 2004 to 2009, New Democracy is now the main opposition party in the Hellenic Parliament after its smashing defeat in the 2009 Greek elections in which they recorded their historical lowest percentage of votes. After the defeat former president Kostas Karamanlis, nephew of the party's founder, resigned and Antonis Samaras was elected the new president of the party through a leadership election in November 2009. New Democracy is a member of the European People's Party and currently has 7 out of 22 Greek MEPs in the European Parliament.
ND was founded on 4 October 1974. Konstantinos Karamanlis was sworn in as the first Prime Minister in two months of the post-dictatorship era. Karamanlis had already served as Prime Minister from 1955 to 1963. In the first free elections of the new era, New Democracy won. This result is attributed mostly to the personal appeal of Karamanlis, rather than the influence of ND as a party, to the electorate. "Karamanlis or tanks" was a slogan at the time, with the latter referring to the military, which, it was feared, might stage another coup.
Karamanlis claimed that he intended New Democracy to be a more modern and progressive right-wing party than those that ruled Greece before the 1967 military coup, including his own ERE (Εθνική Ριζοσπαστικη Ενωση Ethniki Rizospastiki Enosis National Rizospastiki Union). The party's ideology was defined as "radical liberalism," a term defined by ND as "the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favour of social justice."
In 1977, ND again won national elections, albeit with a largely reduced majority (41.88%). Still, it retained a comfortable parliamentary majority. Under Karamanlis Greece redefined its relations with NATO, and tried to resolve the Cyprus issue following the Turkish invasion. In 1980, however, Karamanlis retired. His successor, George Rallis, was defeated at the following elections by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) led by Andreas Papandreou. Under ND leadership Greece joined the European Communities in 1981. Karamanlis was criticised by opposing parties (which were against the prospect of entering the EEC), for not holding a referendum, despite the fact that entry into the EEC was prominent in the political platform under which New Democracy had been elected to power.
ND returned to power in a coalition government (prime minister: Tzannis Tzannetakis) with the traditional Left Party (Coalition of the Left and Progress, which at the time included the Communist Party of Greece) in 1989, subsequently participated in the grand coalition government of Xenophon Zolotas from November 1989 to April 1990 and, eventually, formed a majority government under Constantine Mitsotakis after new elections were held on 10 April 1990. The party then suffered a period of successive losses. It was defeated by a landslide in 1993 under Mitsotakis, in 1996 under Miltiadis Evert, and in 2000 under Kostas Karamanlis, nephew of the party's founder. In 2000 ND lost by 1,06% of the popular vote, the smallest margin in modern Greek history.
By 2003, however, ND was consistently leading the PASOK government of Costas Simitis in opinion polls. In January 2004 Simitis resigned and announced elections for 7 March, at which Karamanlis faced the new PASOK leader, George Papandreou. Despite speculation that Papandreou would succeed in restoring PASOK's fortunes, Karamanlis had a victory in the elections and became Greece's first center-right Prime Minister after eleven years.
The regions that consistently support New Democracy include the Peloponnese, Central Macedonia and West Macedonia. On the other hand, the party is very weak in Crete, the Aegean Islands and West Greece. Other regions such as Central Greece and Thessaly do not have a fixed political identity. Traditionally, the conservative political forces in Greece depended on the backing of the rural population and the business elite, while liberals and then socialists counted on the backing of intellectuals and the urban population, but these distinctions have been blurred over the years, especially since in Greek society there is much social mobility.
On 16 September 2007, Kostas Karamanlis won re-election with a diminished majority in parliament, and stated:"Thank you for your trust. You have spoken loud and clear and chosen the course the country will take in the next few years." George Papandreou, main opposition socialist party PASOK, accepted defeat (New Democracy party with 41.84%, and opposition party PASOK had 38.1%).
On 2 September 2009 Karamanlis asked President Karolos Papoulias to dissolve Parliament and call an election, although one was not required until September 2011. Parliament was dissolved on 9 September, and the Greek legislative election, 2009 was held on 4 October. New Democracy's share of the parliamentary vote dropped to 33.48% (down by −8.38, an all-time low) and they won only 91 of 300 seats, dropping by -61. The rival Panhellenic Socialist Movement soared to 43.92% (up +5.82), and took 160 seats (up +58). The 33.5% tally marked a historic low for the party since its founding in 1974. Karamanlis conceded defeat after the exit polls made the extent of the losses clear. He stated that he was resigning his offices, and would not stand as a candidate at the party convention summoned to elect his successor in November. Initial polls showed former Mayor of Athens and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis leading in the race for party head.
On 29 November 2009, Member of Parliament for Messenia and former minister Antonis Samaras was elected the new leader of New Democracy by the party base. Following early results showing Samaras in the lead, his main rival Dora Bakoyannis conceded defeat and congratulated Samaras for his election.
Election results, Greek parliamentary elections 1974-2009
Year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of members
in the Hellenic Parliament
Position in Parliament 1974 Konstantinos Karamanlis 2,669,133 54.37% 220 Government 1977 Konstantinos Karamanlis 2,146,365 41.84% 171 Government 1981 George Rallis 2,034,496 35.87% 115 Main opposition party 1985 Constantine Mitsotakis 2,599,681 40.84% 126 Main opposition party 1989 (I) Constantine Mitsotakis 2,887,488 44.28% 145 In coalition government with KKE and SYN 1989 (II) Constantine Mitsotakis 3,093,479 46.19% 148 Part of an all-party coalition government 1990 Constantine Mitsotakis 3,088,137 46.89% 150 Government 1993 Constantine Mitsotakis 2,711,739 39.30% 111 Main opposition party 1996 Miltiadis Evert 2,584,765 38.12% 108 Main opposition party 2000 Kostas Karamanlis 2,935,196 42.74% 125 Main opposition party 2004 Kostas Karamanlis 3,359,058 45.36% 165 Government 2007 Kostas Karamanlis 2,994,979 41.84% 152 Government 2009 Kostas Karamanlis 2,295,967 33.48% 91 (now 85) Main opposition party
- Konstantinos Karamanlis (1974–1980)
- Georgios Rallis (1980–1981)
- Evangelos Averoff (1981–1984)
- Konstantinos Mitsotakis (1984–1993)
- Miltiadis Evert (1993–1997)
- Kostas Karamanlis (1997–2009)
- Antonis Samaras (2009–present)
- New Democracy web site (English) (Greek)
- Greek election results, via the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs (Greek)
- European People's Party official web site
Political parties in Greece Parties represented in the
Hellenic Parliament (300 seats)
Parties not representedCommunist Party (Marxist–Leninist) · Democratic Revival · Drasi · Ecologists Greece · Ecologist Greens · Fighting Socialist Party · Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left · Greek Ecologists · Greek Unity · Golden Dawn · Liberal Alliance · Liberal Party · Marxist-Leninist Communist Party · Movement for the Reorganization of the Communist Party · Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party · Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace · Party of Greek Hunters · Patriotic Humanitarian Movement · Rainbow Party · Union of Centrists · Workers Revolutionary Party
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