Laiko Komma

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Laiko Komma (Popular Party) was the conservative political Party founded by Dimitrios Gounaris, main opposition leader to Eleftherios Venizelos and the Liberal Party (Komma Fileleftheron).

Originally, Gounaris was leader of the Nationalist Party (Komma Ethnikofronon) which he renamed Popular in October of 1920, after his return from exile in Corsica. Gounaris and his parliamentary candidates campaigned for withdrawal of the Greek Army from Asia Minor where it occupied as part of the Treaty of Sevres in the aftermath of World War I. The Laiko Party was triumphant in the elections of November 1, 1920 and formed successive governments under Gounaris, Nikolaos Stratos and Petros Protopapadakis. However, they failed to live up to their promise of bringing the troops back home getting more entangled in Asia Minor then their Liberal predecessors had been. To complicate matters further, after the death of King Alexander on October 25, 1920, they brought back exiled King Constantine I which cost Greece the support of her former Entente Allies. Defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the subsequent Asia Minor disaster put an end to their rule as Greek military leaders overthrew the government they viewed as responsible for the national catastrophe.

After the trial of the Laiko Party leadership, which resulted in the execution of five of its members including Gounaris himself, Panagis Tsaldaris took over its reins accepting the principles of the Greek Republic.

Tsaldaris led the party into the September 25, 1932 elections which proved inconclusive. In the repeat elections of March 5, 1933, the Popular Party and its allies won a strong majority in Parliament even though they polled fewer votes. Tsaldaris became Prime Minister but the enmity between Popular and Liberal parties continued, resulting in an attempted coup d' etat by the latter side and an attempted assassination of Venizelos, in which elements of the governing Laiko side were implicated.

A second Liberal-supported coup d' etat in 1935 resulted in the exile of Eleftherios Venizelos and the execution of the two instigators, generals Koimisis and Papoulas.

The Laiko Komma continued to exist into the 1950s under the leadership of Konstantinos Tsaldaris (nephew of Panagis). It contested the 1958 elections as part of the Union of the People's Party Alliance but elected a mere two MPs and was dissolved. Its members were mostly absorbed into the upcoming force in Greek conservative politics: the National Radical Union of Constantine Karamanlis.

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