Antonis Samaras Biography
Sun Sign: Gemini
Born in: Athens
Famous as: Former Prime Minister of Greece
Spouse/Ex-: Georgia Kretikos
father: Konstantinos Samaras
mother: Lena Zannas
siblings: Alexander Samaras
children: Kostas Samaras, Lena Samaras
City: Athens, Greece
Founder/Co-Founder: Political Spring
education: 1974 - Amherst College, 1976 - Harvard University, 1970 - Athens College,, ,
Antonis Samaras is a Greek politician who served as the Prime Minister of Greece from June 2012 to January 2015. A man with a rich political history, he had also previously served as Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Culture and Sports. Born into a wealthy family as the son of a professor, he had a privileged upbringing. He was an athletic young man who used to play tennis as a teenager, winning the Greek Teen Tennis Championship when he was 17. Determined and ambitious, he went to the United States for his higher education and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He ventured into business after completing his studies, first opening a pizzeria which went on to become very successful. Eventually his interests turned towards politics and he was elected to the Greek parliament as an MP for New Democracy at the age of 26. Within a few years he became the Minister of Finance and served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs in two successive governments. He then broke away from New Democracy party in a controversial move only to rejoin the party after some years. He eventually achieved his greatest political ambition in 2012 when he was elected to the office of the Prime Minister of Greece.
- He was born on 23 May 1951 to Dr. Konstantinos Samaras, a Professor of Cardiology, and Lena Zannas in Athens, Greece. He has one brother, Alexander.
- His family was a wealthy and well-connected one and he had a comfortable childhood. He was an active and athletic boy who loved to play tennis. In fact, he won the Greek Teen Tennis Championship at the age of 17.
- He attended Athens College, one of the most prestigious schools in Europe, before moving to the United States to pursue higher education. He studied economics at the Amherst College and graduated with a B.A. in 1974 and then went to the Harvard University from where he earned an MBA in 1976.
- In 1977, he was elected as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Messenia for the conservative New Democracy party. Eventually he advanced to become the Finance Minister in 1989 and shortly thereafter he became the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the New Democracy government of PM Konstantinos Mitsotakis in 1990.
- As the Minister for Foreign Affairs he kindled controversy on the “Macedonian Question", centered over the use of the name Macedonia between the Balkan countries of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. He was removed from his post because of this issue which till date remains a tricky diplomatic situation.
- After being removed from New Democracy he founded his own party, “Political Spring”, a conservative political party, in June 1993. The defection of one Member of Parliament from New Democracy to Samaras' party caused the government's fall from power in 1993.
- The Political Spring party won 4.9 percent of the vote in the 1993 general election, earning ten seats in the Greek Parliament and gained 8.7 per cent in the elections in the 1994 European Parliament elections.
- But the party started declining when it failed to achieve the 3 percent threshold necessary to enter parliament in the 1996 general election when it could get only 2.94 percent. The party’s performance in the 1999 European Parliament elections was again dismal with just 2.3 percent of the vote.
- Political Spring did not contest the 2000 general election and was dissolved before the 2004 general election. Once again he turned his loyalty towards the New Democracy party and rejoined it. He was elected a MEP (Member of the European Parliament) in the 2004 European elections.
- He was elected to the Greek Parliament for Messenia in the 2007 Greek legislative election and consequently resigned from the European Parliament. Following a reshuffle he was made the Minister of Culture in 2009.
- The New Democracy lost the 2009 legislative election and Kostas Karamanlis resigned as head of the party. This prompted a leadership race and Samaras ran for the post. He was elected the new leader of the New Democracy party on 30 November 2009.
- The New Democracy party became the largest party in the Hellenic Parliament following the May 2012 legislative election. The Greek President Karolos Papoulias asked Samaras to try to form a government but he officially announced he was giving up the mandate to form a government.
- Legislative elections were once again held in June 2012 and New Democracy emerged on top in a stronger position with 129 seats, compared to 108 in the May election. Samaras assumed office as the Prime Minister of Greece on 20 June 2012 and served in this post till 26 January 2015 before handing over the reins as Prime Minster to Alexis Tsipras, as his party lost the general elections.
- He met Georgia Kritikos, the daughter of business tycoon Akis Kritikos, the owner of the well-known canning company “Kyknos”, in 1989 in a political gathering and immediately felt attracted to her. The couple got married in 1990 and is blessed with two children. Georgia, who is a civil engineer by profession, has been a pillar of support for her husband throughout his political career.
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