Protagonist in Politics, 1912–20

Thanos Veremis and Helen Kardikas-katsiadakis

in Eleftherios Venizelos

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624782
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671267 | DOI:
Protagonist in Politics, 1912–20

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This chapter considers Venizelos' political views. Venizelos was less devoted than Trikoupis to the principle of the superiority of parliamentary politics over all other forms of democratic governance. His own inclination was toward the Aristotelian division of politics into pure and corrupt versions. He was therefore less concerned with the political system than with its actual operation. This view of politics naturally placed the burden of state management on the persons in power, rather than on the system of politics. Success, therefore, would depend mostly on the attributes of the personalities who were placed, by choice or chance, in the key posts of power. When Venizelos restored the damaged prestige of the monarchy, after the 1909 coup had challenged its legitimacy, and reinstated King George as the arbiter of parliamentary politics in 1910, he was depending entirely on the moderation and prudence of the particular monarch for the viability of the institution. He could anticipate neither the assassination of George nor the character of Constantine, who replaced him on the throne in 1913. Before the National Schism, Venizelos had encouraged a bipolar system of governance in which the head of state and the head of government shared substantial authority. His hope was that the grateful monarch would be willing to grant his consent on vital issues of reform and foreign policy.

Keywords: Eleftherios Venizelos; parliamentary politics; King George; Constantine; National Schism; governance; reform; foreign policy

Chapter.  8276 words. 

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