Papandreou, George (Georgios Andreou Papandreou)päˌpəndrāˈō, 1952–, Greek political leader, b. Minnesota. The son of Andreas Papandreou and grandson of George Papandreou (1888–1968), he spent much of his first three decades abroad while his father was in exile. A member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok), he was elected to the Greek parliament in 1981 and subsequently served as a deputy culture minister (1985–87) in his father's cabinet. In the 1990s he held a number of ministerial posts, becoming foreign minister (1999–2004) at the end of the decade. Papandreou succeeded Costas Simitis as Pasok's party leader in 2004, but Pasok lost two subsequent parliamentary elections, forcing Papandreou to fend off a party leadership challenge in 2007. In 2009 he led Pasok to victory in a snap election and became premier. His government was subsequently forced to adopt a series of austerity measures and seek international guarantees of aid to deal with burgeoning budget deficits and debt and the threat of default. His move (Oct., 2011) to call a referendum on a European Union rescue plan undermined his government, and led to his resignation and formation of a government of national unity; he stepped down as party leader in Mar., 2012.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.