16 March, 2006
Former Greek Prime Minister George Rallis died of heart failure on Wednesday at the age of 88.
He was a scion of one of Greece's great political families, whose father and grandfather had both served as Greek prime ministers in their time.
Rallis was first elected into Parliament in 1950, as an MP for Athens with the Peoples Party, and the last time he ran for election was in April 1990.
He was given a ministerial post for the first time in 1954 and served at various times as minister of state, transport and public works, interior affairs, public order, minister to the Prime Minister's Office, education and religious affairs, Coordination and the foreign ministry, before taking over as prime minister at the head of a New Democracy government on May 10, 1980 until October 21, 1981.
As foreign minister of Greece, he had handled the process for the country's accession to the then European Economic Community.
Messages of condolences over the death due to heart failure of former Prime Minister George Rallis on Wednesday were extended by President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and party leaders.
President Papoulias said in his message "we are all mourning today the loss of a politician who played a leading role at a time when Greece was facing great challenges. The political and personal course of George Rallis is sealed by his love for the motherland and his faith in a Greece with a better future."
Karamanlis characterized Rallis "a consistent fighter for democracy, an indefatigable servant of public interest and of political wisdom, measure and moderation, who linked his long course in public life with great and historic moments of our motherland." Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda said "his splendid career has been sealed by his adherence to democratic institutions, honesty in managing public affairs, boldness in implementing political innovations, outspokenness and a high sense of responsibility in whatever post he was summoned to serve."
Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said Rallis was a political personality "who contributed decisively to the shaping of a smooth transitional political life, having the experience of the troubled pre-dictatorship years and their repercussions for the country and the Greek people."
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alekos Alavanos said Rallis was "one of the central political personalities during the first years of the transition from dictatorship to Parliamentarism", adding that "despite the political differences that existed, the Left has appreciated his sincerity."
Former prime minister and ruling New Democracy Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis said "George Rallis served the country’s public life for over 50 years with morality, consistency, absolute unselfishness and faith in his principles. We found ourselves side-by-side in common struggles, we cooperated closely and we gave battles for the country and our great liberal-democratic party."
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Wednesday addressed a message to ruling New Democracy party Central Committee secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, expressing warm condolences over the death of former Prime Minister George Rallis to his family and to ND's Central Committee.
Source: Athens News Agency