On this day in 1952, the women of Greece were given the right to vote and to be elected in parliamentary elections. However, the women could not vote in the immediately following elections (in November of 1952) because they were not registered in time to be included in the voter registration lists as required by law. In time, the women’s right to vote led to their earning places and job positions in businesses and in the government of Greece and were eventually able to maintain their right to inherit property (even after being married).
On this day in 2017, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, the former Prime Minister of Greece, died at the age of 98. Born in the port of Chania on the southern Greek island of Crete on October 18, 1918, Mitsotakis was the nephew of liberal statesman Eleftherios Venizelos and was first elected to Parliament in 1946. In 1977, Mitsotakis re-entered Parliament as the head of the small Neoliberal Party and, the following year, joined the governing New Democracy party, serving first as Finance Minister and later as Foreign Minister. He became the party’s leader in 1984 while the conservatives were in opposition. Mitsotakis narrowly won the elections in 1990 after the Socialists became entangled in a financial scandal and polls in 1989 twice produced a hung Parliament. After his resignation as party leader, Mitsotakis often made public statements urging governments to take bolder steps in their market reforms and led an unsuccessful effort for Greece’s President to be elected directly by the people. Mitsotakis and his wife, Marika (who passed away in 2012), had four children: Dora, Katerina, Alexandra, and Kyriakos. He enjoyed good health until late in life and lived long enough to meet several great-grandchildren as well as to see his youngest child, Kyriakos, elected as leader of New Democracy in January of 2016.
On this day in 1913, the Treaty of London was signed, marking the culmination of the London Conference of 1912-13. It addressed the territorial adjustments resulting from the conclusion of the First Balkan War. The combatants involved were the victorious Balkan League, comprising Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, against the defeated Ottoman Empire. The conference was attended by representatives of the Great Powers, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. However, the delineation of the Albanian state’s precise boundaries under the Protocol of Florence on December 17, 1913, faced significant opposition from the Greek population residing in southern Albania. In response to their revolt, the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was declared and internationally recognized as an autonomous region within Albania, in accordance with the terms outlined in the Protocol of Corfu. The Treaty has been a subject of contention for Albanians, as it is perceived as an injustice imposed by the Great Powers, leaving nearly half of the predominantly Albanian territories and 40% of the Albanian population outside the borders of the new country.