George II of Greece
George II reigned as King of Greece from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to 1947. George was born at the royal villa at Tatoi, near Athens, the eldest son of Prince Constantine of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. George pursued a military career, training with the Prussian Guard at the age of 18 serving in the Balkan Wars as a member of the 1st Greek Infantry; when his grandfather was assassinated in 1913, his father became King Constantine I and George became the crown prince. After a coup deposed King Constantine during the First World War, Crown Prince George, by a Major, followed his father into exile in 1917. George's younger brother, was installed as king by prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos, an avowed Republican; when Alexander I died following an infection from a monkey bite in 1920, Venizelos was voted out of office, a plebiscite restored Constantine to the throne. Crown Prince George served as a colonel, a major general in the war against Turkey. During this time he married his second cousin, on 27 February 1921 in Bucharest, Princess Elisabeth of Romania, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania.
When the Turks defeated Greece at the Battle of Dumlupınar, the military forced the abdication of Constantine, George succeeded to the Greek throne on 27 September 1922. Following a failed royalist coup in October 1923, the Revolutionary Committee asked him to depart Greece while the National Assembly considered the question of the future form of government, he complied and, although he refused to abdicate, he left on 19 December 1923 for exile in his wife's home nation of Romania. When a republic was proclaimed on 25 March 1924, he was deposed and stripped of his Greek nationality, his property was confiscated, his wife stayed in Bucharest whilst he spent more and more time abroad visiting Britain, his mother in Florence. In 1932 he moved to Britain. Elisabeth and he had no children, were divorced on 6 July 1935. In Greece between 1924 and 1935 there were 23 changes of government, a dictatorship, 13 coups. General Georgios Kondylis, a former Venizelist who had decided to throw in his lot with the monarchist forces, overthrew the government in October 1935 and appointed himself Prime Minister.
He arranged a plebiscite both to approve his government and to bring an end to the republic. On 3 November 1935 98% of the reported votes supported restoration of the monarchy; the balloting was not secret, participation was compulsory. As Time described it at the time, "As a voter one could drop into the ballot box a blue vote for George II and please General George Kondylis, or one could cast a red ballot for the Republic and get roughed up." George, living at Brown's Hotel in London, returned to Greek soil on November 25. He and Kondylis disagreed over the terms of a general amnesty the King wanted to declare, George appointed an interim Prime Minister, Konstantinos Demertzis. New elections were held in January, which resulted in a hung parliament with the Communists holding the balance of power. A series of unexpected deaths amongst the better-known politicians, as well as the uncertain political situation, led to the rise to power of veteran army officer Ioannis Metaxas. On 4 August 1936, George endorsed Metaxas's establishment of dictatorship – the "4th of August Regime", signing decrees that dissolved the parliament, banned political parties, abolished the constitution, purported to create a "Third Hellenic Civilization."
The King, ruling with Prime Minister Metaxas, oversaw a right-wing regime in which political opponents were arrested and strict censorship was imposed. An Index of banned books during that period included the works of Plato and Xenophon. Despite the nationalist government's strong economic and military ties to Germany, a connection which continued with Nazi Germany, King George was known to have pro-British feelings at the start of World War II. On 28 October 1940 Metaxas rejected an Italian ultimatum demanding the stationing of Italian troops in Greece, Italy invaded, starting the Greco-Italian War; the Greeks mounted a successful defense and occupied the southern half of Albania, but when the Germans invaded from Bulgaria on 6 April 1941 the Greeks and the British Expeditionary Force were overrun, mainland Greece occupied. On April 23 the King and the government left the Greek mainland for Crete, but after the German airborne attack on the island he was evacuated to Egypt. Once again he went into exile to Great Britain at the behest of King Farouk of Egypt and Farouk's pro-Italian ministers.
During the war he remained the internationally recognized head of state, backed by the exiled government and Greek forces serving in the Middle East. In occupied Greece, the leftist partisans of the National Liberation Front and National Popular Liberation Army, now unfettered by Metaxas' oppression, had become the largest Greek Resistance movement, enjoying considerable popular support; as liberation drew nearer, the prospect of the King's return caused dissensions both inside Greece and among the Greeks abroad. Although the King renounced the Metaxas regime in a radio broadcast, a large section of the people and many politicians rejected his return on account of his support of the dictatorship. In November 1943 George wrote to the Prime Minister-in-exile Emmanouil Tsouderos, "I shall examine anew the question of the date of my return to Greece in agreement with the Government". Either deliberately or accidentally, the version
Constantine II of Greece
Constantine II reigned as the King of Greece, from 1964 until the abolition of the monarchy in 1973. He acceded as king following the death of his father King Paul in March 1964; that year he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark with whom he had five children. Although the accession of the young monarch was regarded auspiciously, his reign soon became controversial: Constantine's involvement in the Apostasia of July 1965 created unrest among sections of the population and aggravated the ongoing political instability that culminated in the Colonels' Coup of 21 April 1967; the coup was successful, leaving Constantine, as the head of state, little room to maneuver since he had no loyal military forces on which to rely. As a result, he reluctantly agreed to inaugurate the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 on the condition that it be made up of civilian ministers. On 13 December 1967, Constantine was forced to flee the country, following an unsuccessful countercoup against the junta, he remained the head of state in exile until the junta conducted the 1 June 1973 Greek republic referendum which abolished the monarchy.
This abolition was confirmed after the fall of the junta by the 1974 Greek republic referendum on 8 December, which established the Third Hellenic Republic. Constantine, not allowed to return to Greece to campaign, accepted the results of the plebiscite. Constantine was born at the Psychiko Palace in a suburb of Athens, he was the nephew of King George II, the second child and only son of the king's brother and heir presumptive, Prince Paul. His mother was Princess Frederica of Hanover. Constantine's older sister Queen Sofía of Spain is the wife of the retired King Juan Carlos I of Spain, while his younger sister, Princess Irene, has never been married. Constantine was just one year old when Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany invaded Greece, he spent the next four years in exile in Egypt and Cape Town, South Africa with his family, he returned to Greece with his family in 1946. King George died in 1947, Constantine's father became the new king, making Constantine the crown prince, he was educated at a preparatory school and a boarding school.
A fellow student recalled him as "a young man with all the right instincts. He was at his best on the playing fields."Constantine served in all three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces, attending the requisite military academies. He attended the NATO Air Force Special Weapons School in Germany, as well as the University of Athens, where he took courses in the school of law. Constantine was an able sportsman. In 1960, aged 20, he won an Olympic gold medal in sailing, the first Greek gold medal in sailing since the Stockholm 1912 Summer Olympics, he was a strong swimmer and had a black belt in karate, with interests in squash, track events and riding. In 1963 Constantine became a member of the International Olympic Committee, he resigned in 1974 because he was no longer a Greek resident, was made an Honorary IOC Member. In March 1964, King Paul died of cancer, the 23-year-old Constantine succeeded him as king. Prior to this, Constantine had been appointed as regent for his ailing father. King Paul's long-time prime minister Konstantinos Karamanlis regarded him responsible for his fall from leadership in 1963.
However, due to his youth, he was perceived as a promise of change. The accession of Constantine coincided with the recent election of Centrist George Papandreou as prime minister in February 1964, which ended 11 years of right-wing rule by the National Radical Union. Greece was still feeling the effects of the Civil War of 1944–49 between communists and monarchists, society was polarised between the royalist/conservative right and the liberal/socialist center-left, it was hoped that the new young king and the new prime minister would be able to overcome past dissensions. Relations between the king and Papandreou seemed good, but by 1965, they had deteriorated; the conservative establishment feared the rising influence of Papandreou's left-leaning son Andreas, the outbreak of the purported ASPIDA scandal seemed to confirm their suspicions. The name of Andreas Papandreou was implicated in the case, when the defence minister, Petros Garoufalias tried to form a committee of inquiry into the alleged scandal, the prime minister forced his resignation.
George Papandreou assigned the defence portfolio to himself, which caused alarm in the palace and the conservative security circles, which interpreted this move as an attempt by Papandreou to control the army. Constantine refused to accept the self-appointment, a new political issue resulted. Constantine proposed the appointment of any other person of the prime minister's choosing as defence minister because, as the king argued, there was a conflict of interest: the prime minister's son was involved in the scandal. Papandreou rejected the king's proposition, although he had shown some willingness to accept it, submitted his own resignation, stating that it was well within his constitutional powers as the elected prime minister commanding a Parliamentary majority to appoint his ministers at his pleasure, it was beyond the constitutional powers of the king to refuse him this right. A short time after his resignation, Constantine appointed a new government led by Georgios Athanasiadis-Novas, who failed to ensure the Parliament's confidence.
This appointment, which became known as the "Royal Coup", evoked much criticism as being unconstitutional. According to the critics, the appoi
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war; the main victor of the four, Bulgaria and pushed back all four original combatants of the first war along with halting a surprise attack from Romania from the north in the second war. The conflicts ended catastrophically for the Ottoman Empire, which lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples; the war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War". By the early 20th century, Greece and Serbia had achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large elements of their ethnic populations remained under Ottoman rule. In 1912 these countries formed the Balkan League; the First Balkan War had three main causes: The Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with the rising ethnic nationalism of its diverse peoples.
The Great Powers quarreled amongst themselves and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed reforms. This led the Balkan states to impose their own solution. Most the Balkan League had been formed, its members were confident that it could defeat the Turks; the Ottoman Empire lost all its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa as a result of the two Balkan Wars, which thus delineated present-day Turkey's western border. A large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland from the lost lands. By 1914, the remaining core region of the Ottoman Empire had experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million because of the flood of immigration from the Balkans. Citizens of Turkey regard the Balkan Wars as a major disaster in the nation's history; the unexpected fall and sudden relinquishing of Turkish-dominated European territories created a psycho-traumatic event amongst many Turks that triggered the ultimate collapse of the empire itself within five years.
Nazım Pasha, Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army, was held responsible for the failure and was assassinated on 23 January 1913 during the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état. The First Balkan War began when the League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October 1912 and ended eight months with the signing of the Treaty of London on 30 May 1913; the Second Balkan War began on 16 June 1913. Both Serbia and Greece, utilizing the argument that the war had been prolonged, repudiated important particulars of the pre-war treaty and retained occupation of all the conquered districts in their possession, which were to be divided according to specific predefined boundaries. Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia and commenced military action against them; the more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria from the west and the south. Romania, having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, invaded Bulgaria from the north in violation of a peace treaty between the two states.
The Ottoman Empire attacked Bulgaria and advanced in Thrace regaining Adrianople. In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria lost most of the territories it had gained in the First Balkan War in addition to being forced to cede the ex-Ottoman south-third of Dobroudja province to Romania; the background to the wars lies in the incomplete emergence of nation-states on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th century. Serbia had gained substantial territory during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878, while Greece acquired Thessaly in 1881 and Bulgaria incorporated the distinct province of Eastern Rumelia. All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia, comprising Eastern Rumelia, Albania and Thrace. Throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared different aims over the "Eastern Question" and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia wanted access to the "warm waters" of the Mediterranean from the Black Sea.
Britain wished to deny Russia access to the "warm waters" and supported the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, although it supported a limited expansion of Greece as a backup plan in case integrity of the Empire was no longer possible. France wished to strengthen its position in the region in the Levant. Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary wished for a continuation of the existence of the Ottoman Empire, since both were troubled multinational entities and thus the collapse of the one might weaken the other; the Habsburgs saw a strong Ottoman presence in the area as a counterweight to the Serbian nationalistic call to their own Serb subjects in Bosnia and other parts of the empire. Italy's primary aim at the time seems to have been the denial of access to the Adriatic Sea to another major sea power; the German Empire, in turn, under the "Drang nach Osten" policy, aspired to turn the Ottoman Empire into its own de facto colony, thus supported its integrity. In the late 19th and early 20th century and Greece contended for Ottoman Macedonia and Thrace.
Ethnic Greeks sought the forced "Hellenization" of ethnic
Greece during World War I
At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Kingdom of Greece remained a neutral nation. Nonetheless, Greek forces in October 1914 occupied Northern Epirus, a territory of southern Albania that it claimed for its own, at a time when the new Principality of Albania was in turmoil. At the same time, the Kingdom of Italy occupied Sazan Island, another Albanian possession, that December the Albanian port of Vlorë. Greece had emerged victorious from the 1912–1913 Balkan Wars, with her territory doubled, but found itself in a difficult international situation; the status of the Greek-occupied eastern Aegean islands was left undetermined, the Ottoman Empire continued to claim them, leading to a naval arms race and mass expulsions of ethnic Greeks from Anatolia. In the north, defeated in the Second Balkan War, harbored revanchist plans against Greece and Serbia. Greece and Serbia were bound by a treaty of alliance, signed on 1 June 1913, which promised mutual military assistance in case of an attack by a third party, referring to Bulgaria.
However, in the spring and summer of 1914, Greece found itself in a confrontation with the Ottoman Empire over the status of the eastern Aegean islands, coupled with a naval race between the two countries and persecutions of the Greeks in Asia Minor. On 11 June, the Greek government issued an official protest to the Porte, threatening a breach of relations and war, if the persecutions were not stopped. On the next day Greece requested the assistance of Serbia, if matters came to a head, but on 16 June, the Serbian government replied that due to the country's exhaustion after the Balkan Wars, the hostile stance of Albania and Bulgaria, Serbia could not commit to Greece's aid, recommended that war be avoided. On 19 June 1914, the Army Staff Service, under Lt. Colonel Ioannis Metaxas, presented its study on military options against Turkey: the only decisive manoeuvre, a landing of the entire Hellenic Army in Asia Minor, was impossible due to the hostility of Bulgaria. However, on the previous day, the Ottoman government had suggested mutual talks, the tension eased enough for Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and the Ottoman Grand Vizier, Said Halim Pasha, to meet in Brussels in July.
In the event, the anticipated conflict would emerge from a different quarter altogether: the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June led to the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia and the outbreak of the First World War a month on 28 July 1914. Faced with the prospect of an localized Austro-Serbian war, the Greek leadership was unanimous that the country would remain neutral, despite the mutual assistance terms of the alliance with Serbia. Greece was prepared to enter the conflict only in the event of a Bulgarian intervention, when the entire balance of power in the Balkans would be jeopardized. Furthermore, as it became evident that the conflict would not remain localized, but expand to a general European war, any previous considerations by the Balkan countries were de facto rendered void; this was notably the case for Greece and Romania, both powers with a stake in maintaining the status quo in the Balkans, but with diverging interests. The Greek political leadership was divided on its views on the outcome of the war and the requisite Greek policy against the combatant coalitions: Prime Minister Venizelos believed that if Germany and her allies in the Central Powers prevailed in Central Europe, with her naval might, would emerge victorious at least in the Near East, where Greece's interests lay.
Venizelos considered that the two main rivals of Greece and the Ottoman Empire, were to join the Central Powers, since their interests aligned with those of Germany. The conflict with the Ottomans over the islands of the eastern Aegean, or the pogroms against the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, in particular, were fresh in his mind. While for the moment Venizelos was prepared to remain neutral as the best course of action, his ultimate aim was to enter the war on the side of the Allied Powers, either should Bulgaria attack Serbia, or should the Allies make proposals that would satisfy Greek claims. King Constantine I on the other hand, backed by Foreign Minister Georgios Streit and the General Staff, were convinced of Germany's triumph, furthermore sympathized with the German militarist political system; as Greece was vulnerable to the navies of the Allied Powers and thus unable to side with the Central Powers and his supporters argued for firm and "permanent" neutrality. The thinking of Streit, as the King's main political advisor, was influenced by his fear of pan-Slavism, against which German fought, as well as by his belief that the traditional European balance of power would not be upset by the war, leaving little room for Greek territorial gains in the event of participation in the conflict.
In particular, contrary to Venizelos, Streit believed that if they won, the Allies would respect the integrity of both Austria–Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. In additio
George Andreas Papandreou is a Greek American politician who served as Prime Minister of Greece from 2009 to 2011. Belonging to a political dynasty of long standing, he served under his father, then-prime minister Andreas Papandreou as Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2004. Papandreou was leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement party from February 2004 until March 2012, President of the Socialist International since January 2006. On 6 October 2009, George Papandreou became the 182nd Prime Minister of Greece, he was the third member of the Papandreou family to serve as the country's prime minister, following his father Andreas and his grandfather Georgios Papandreou. He resigned on 11 November 2011 during the Greek government debt crisis to make way for a national unity government. Papandreou was born 16 June 1952 in Saint Paul, United States, where his father, Andreas Papandreou, at that time held a professorship at the University of Minnesota.
His mother is née Chant. He received his secondary education at schools in Illinois in the United States, in Sweden, graduated from King City Secondary School in Canada in 1970, he attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University. He has a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Amherst and a master's degree in sociology from the LSE, he was a researcher on immigration issues at Stockholm University in 1972–73. He was a fellow of the Foreign Relations Center of Harvard University in 1992–93. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by Amherst College and in 2006 he was named distinguished professor in the Center for Hellenic Studies by Georgia State College of Arts and Science. Papandreou's father studied and worked as professor of economics from 1939 to 1959, his paternal grandfather, Georgios Papandreou, was a three-time prime minister of Greece. The younger George Papandreou came to Greece after the restoration of Greek democracy in 1974.
He became active in the political party his father had founded, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He joined the Central Committee of PASOK in 1984. Papandreou was elected to the Greek Parliament in 1981, the year his father became Prime Minister, as MP for the constituency of Achaea, he became Under Secretary for Cultural Affairs in 1985, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs in 1988, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1993, Minister for Education and Religious Affairs again in 1994, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs again in 1996 and Minister of Foreign Affairs in February 1999. He was Minister Responsible for Government Coordination for the Bid for 2004 Olympic Games in 1997. In his second term as Minister of Education, Papandreou was the first politician in Greece to introduce affirmative action, allocating 5% of university posts for the Muslim minority in Thrace, he was instrumental in initiating the Open University in Greece. Papandreou received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his work for human rights.
As Foreign Minister he fostered closer relations with Albania. He worked to solve the dispute over Cyprus. Papandreou worked to resolve tensions regarding the Macedonia naming dispute. Papandreou stated in 1999. In December 2003 European Voice shortlisted him for nomination of the Europeans of the Year award as "Diplomat of the Year", naming him as "The Bridge-Builder" and quoting Le Monde that dubbed him the "architect of Greek-Turkish rapprochement", he is a founding member of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. In anticipation of the 2004 national elections in Greece, polls indicated that PASOK was likely to lose as the conservative New Democracy party was heading towards a landslide. In January 2004, the incumbent PM Costas Simitis announced his resignation as leader of PASOK, passed the leadership to Papandreou by recommending him as the new leader. On 8 February 2004 PASOK introduced for the first time the procedure of open primaries for the election of party leadership. If Papandreou had no opponent, this was a move designed to solidify the open primaries, democratize the party, make a clean break with the tradition of "dynastic politics."
In May 2005, Papandreou was elected Vice President of the Socialist International following a proposal by the former President, António Guterres. In January 2006, Papandreou was unanimously elected President of the Socialist International. In the 2007 general election, PASOK again lost to the incumbent New Democracy party of Kostas Karamanlis and Papandreou’s leadership was challenged by Evangelos Venizelos and Kostas Skandalidis. Papandreou, retained his party's leadership at a leadership election in November. In June 2009 and under his leadership, his party won the 2009 European Parliament election in Greece. Four months PASOK won the October 2009 general elections with 43.92% of the popular vote to ND's 33.48%, 160 parliament seats to 91. The inauguration of George Papandreou as the 182nd Prime Minister of Greece took place on 6 October 2009. Upon inauguration, Papandreou's government revealed that its finances were far worse than previous announcements, with a year deficit of 12.7% of GDP, four times more than the Eurozone's limit, a public debt of $410 billion.
This announcement served only to worsen the severe crisis the Greek economy was undergoing, with an unemploym