(b. 23 June 1936).
Prime Minister of Greece, 1996–2004 Born in Athens, he studied law at Marburg (Germany) and then at the London School of Economics. Back in Greece he joined the political resistance before being forced into exile. He held a number of university posts in Germany, before returning to Greece in 1974. He co-founded the pansocialist Hellenic movement (PASOK), and became a minister in 1981, succeeding Andreas Papandreou in 1996. Under Simitis, relations with Turkey improved in unprecedented ways. Simitis introduced a series of economic reforms, as a result of which Greece confounded expectations by qualifying for adopting the euro in 2002. The effects of economic growth were felt very unevenly, so that Simitis became quite unpopular. As a result, he resigned as PASOK leader in an attempt to enable his successor, George Papandreou, to do better in the forthcoming elections. His party lost, and he was succeeded as Prime Minister by Kostas Karamanlis.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).