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Following Andonis Samaras to the top

30 November 2009 / 16:11:32  GRReporter
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With his victory for New Democracy leader Andonis Samaras open a new page in his political career book. He was born on May 23, 1951 in Athens. When he was five years old, the great-grandson of the famous Greek writer Penelope Delta was a very good drummer, who grew up with songs by the Rolling Stones. At 18 he read Kipling and at 19 he was already in the US studying medicine. His father Konstantinos was a heart disease doctor in the Athenian hospital Evangelismos and his dream was to send his son to study in America. But one lecture by Nobel Prize candidate John Kenneth Galbright impresses Samaras and he decides to study economics in Amherst and Harvard. In the US he meets Giorgos Papandreou and for some time they even become roommates!

One night when both of them were coming back from a protest against bombing Laos and Cambodia, the two leaders went for a pizza and half joking half serious Samaras said to Papandreou: “Let us bet that one day both of us will be in the parliament.” “You have already lost. I do not want to deal with politics,” was the answer. How this story continues, we already know…

At age 26 Andonis Samaras becomes a deputy, chosen by New Democracy. But his big hit in politics comes in 1989, when he was chosen for Minister of Finances in Xenofont Zolotas’ government. Back then 34 year old Andonis Samaras meets his wife during one of his speeches in Asteria cinema on Kifisias Boulevard. Businessman Akis Kritikos comes to the event with his daughter Georgia, who at that time was a student in the Polytechnic University. Both of them sit discretely at the end of the cinema hall and when Samaras ends his speech, everybody rushes to congratulate him. But his eyes cannot move away from the tall beautiful girl, who patiently waits to meet him. At that point they didn’t have time to speak but on the next day Samaras asks the photographer of the event to show him all 300 photos he took that night. Andonis Samaras find the girl and his brother Alexandros tells him he knows her father.

Their first date is on Syntagma Square one year later! On May 20, 1990 they got married and more than 10 000 people were invited to the wedding. The PM back then Kostas Mitsotakis and almost all New Democracy deputies were present at the event. The Samaras family has two children – older daughter Eleni, who is studying engineering in London and younger son Konstantinos, who i studying in the Athens College.

During his political career Andonis Samaras passes through being Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the time when the Macedonian name issue was gaining strength and the media was constantly discussing the topic. The way Samaras deals with the subject causes inner party disputes and as a result he was dismissed from the government. As a result of this in 1993 Samaras creates his own party – Political Spring, which wins ten deputy seats in the parliament but this was its first and last victory. In 2000 Samaras goes back to New Democracy and in 2004 he was chosen for a deputy from Messinya region. Samaras speaks perfect English, French and knows a bit of Italian. Before the parliament elections in October he was Minister of Culture in Kostas Karamanlis’ government and his mandate was left in history with opening the New Acropolis Museum.

Before becoming leader of New Democracy Andonis Samaras admits for that he listens to a lot of music and lately he has rediscovered dancing and hard rock. He likes his constant travels within Greece for his pre-election campaign, because he says he was waiting for this for a long time. Andonis Samaras’ characteristic trait is patience, because as he admits after ten years after his party Political Spring falls apart and he was left outside the political scene, he says he saw those years as “years of loneliness”. Today, when the election results are fact Andonis Samaras can be happy because his patience paid off. 

Tags: Andonis Samaras Kostas Karamanlis Georgia Kritikos New Democracy
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