Constantinos Simitis

Constantinos Simitis

Prime Minister of Greece 1996-2004

Date and place of birth

He was born in Piraeus on 6 June 1936. 


Law at the University of Marburg, W. Germany, Economics at London School of Economics.

Professional experience and political career

Co-founder and secretary of the Alexander Papanastasiou Group (1965), which changed its name in 1967 to Dimokratiki Amyna (Democratic Defence). In 1969 he left Greece to escape the military dictatorship of the Colonels, and was subsequently convicted in absentia by court martial for his political resistance activities. In 1970 he joined PAK, the Pan-Hellenic Liberation Movement, and became member of its National Council. A founding member of PASOK (1974), he was a member of the first Executive Office of the party, as well as of the founding Central Committee. He was a member of the Executive Office until 1979.

Lecturer at various West German universities (1971-1975). Professor of Commercial Law at the Panteion University, Athens (1977-81). He is the author of a large number of works and studies.

On 1984 he was re-elected to the Central Committee, and again in 1989. At the 2nd and 3rd PASOK party conferences he was re-elected to the Central Committee and the Executive Office. On 1996 the PASOK Parliamentary Group elected him Prime Minister, following the withdrawal of Andreas Papandreou from the office of Prime Minister on account of ill health. At the 4th PASOK party conference (June 1996) he was elected Chairman of the party following the death of Andreas Papandreou. He was re-elected party chairman at the 5th (1999) and 6th PASOK conference (October 2001).

Elected MP (PASOK) in Piraeus A in the general election of 1985, 1989 (June and November), 1990, 1993 and in the 1996 and 2000 election he took part as PASOK party chairman.  The last time he was elected MP (PASOK) in Piraeus A, was in the general election of 2004.

Prime Minister from 1996 to 2004. He was Minister of Agriculture (1981 to 1985), Minister of National Economy (1985 to 1987), Minister of Education and Religious Affairs (1989 to 1990), Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology (1993 to 1994), Minister of Trade (1993 to 1994), Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology (1994 to 1995) and Minister of Trade (1994 to 1995). 

He remained in the post as party chairman until 2004. He resigned from office after eight years of premiership in order to support the renewal of the party.


He is married to Daphne Arkadiou, and has two daughters, one a lawyer and the other a university professor.