Spiros Markezinis

From Phantis
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Spiros Markezinis (alternative spelling Marchesini) (April 22, 1909 - January 4, 2000) was a Greek economist, politician, historian, longtime member of the Greek parliament, and briefly Prime Minister.

Markezinis earned degrees in law and political science at the University of Athens, and entered private law practice. In 1936, he became counsel to King George II, a capacity in which he served until 1946. During this time, the outbreak of World War II and Greece's occupation by Nazi Germany forced the King to flee the country, while Markezinis remained to fight as part of the resistance militias.

He ran for and received a seat in Parliament in the 1946 elections as a member of the United Nationalist Party from the Cyclades. Shortly after taking his seat, he split from the party and founded a new party, aptly named the New Party, the second of many parties under which he would serve. The New Party won 2.5% of the vote in the 1950 parliamentary elections, enough to hold Markezinis's single seat in Parliament.

In 1949, Markezinis was made minister without portfolio, but was unofficially given control over the government's economic policy, coordinating the activities of the various economic ministries. Upon the election of longtime ally General Alexandros Papagos as Prime Minister in 1952, Markezinis's unofficial position as essentially minister of finance become even more powerful. The major event he orchestrated during his tenure was a 50% devaluation of the Drachma.

Papagos left office in 1955, and in the same year, Markezinis again founded a new party, this time named the Progressive Party. However, it failed to win any seats in the 1956 elections, leaving Markezinis out of Parliament until the 1958 elections, in which the Progressive Party won a seat. In 1961, he won reelection under a joint list with the Center Union and in 1964 in a joint list with the National Radical Union.

When George Papadopoulos's military junta took control of the country in 1967, the Progressive Party was the only party to support the junta, and indeed Markezinis was one of the few politicians of any political stripe willing to work with the junta at all. He was even briefly appointed Prime Minister of Greece in October 1973 as Papadopoulos resigned as Prime Minister to take the title of President. His time in this post was shortlived, as other members of the junta forced out both Markezinis and Papadopoulos on November 25 following a bloodily-suppressed student uprising at Athens Polytechnic School.

Following the collapse of the Papadopoulos government, Markezinis remained active in the political scene, playing a crucial role in the negotiations in early 1974 that led to the return of democratic government under Constantine Karamanlis's national unity government. The Progressive Party remained an active political party, albeit a small one, whose main success consisted of electing a delegate to the European parliament in 1981.

In his later years, Markezinis wrote a number of well-regarded multi-volume treatises on 20th-century Greek history.

Preceded by:
George Papadopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece
Succeeded by:
Adamantios Androutsopoulos