He was born at Melissourgoi, a village outside Arta, Epirus, Greece on September 4, 1942. He studied Law at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and worked as a lawyer, in Arta, from 1970 to 1977.
Tsovolas began his career in politics as a member of PASOK. He was first elected member of the Parliament in 1977. He served as the country's Finance Minister in the 1980s during which time he followed controversial policies.
Tsovolas was among those former PASOK ministers indicted in 1989 over fiscal irregularities related to the Koskotas and the Bank of Crete scandals. He was found guilty on January 16, 1992 and received a suspended jail sentence and deprivation of his political and civil rights for 3 years.
At the end of the sentence in December 1995, he founded a separate party - DIKKI - which had success in the September 1996 elections and got around 4% of the vote and nine seats by positioning itself as the left-wing, social-democratic alternative to PASOK. However, the party failed to capitalise on its success and was seen as out of date and out of touch by most voters in the election of 2000 and 2004. After the latter election, Tsovolas suspended the party's activities, retired from active politics and returned to practicing law in Athens.