Simitis, Costas (Konstantinos Georgiou Simitis)kôˈstəs sĭmētˈĭs, kônˌstäntēˈnôs gāôrˈgyō, 1936–, Greek politician and premier (1996–2004), b. Athens. Simitis studied law in Germany (J.D., Marburg, 1959) and economics in Great Britain. A lawyer, he was involved in activities against the Greek junta, avoided arrest by fleeing abroad in the late 1960s, and became a law professor in Germany (1971–75). He was a founding member (1974) of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok), Greece's socialist party. Returning to Greece in the 1970s, Simitis joined the government as a member of parliament from Piraeus and subsequently served in a number of ministerial posts, notably minister of industry and commerce (1993–96). In 1996 the pragmatic leader was appointed to succeed Premier Andreas Papandreou, who resigned due to ill health. Following Papandreou's death in June, 1996, Simitis was elected Pasok's party leader. Simitis moved Pasok toward the center and undertook austerity measures that paved the way for Greece's adoption of the euro. In Apr., 2000, he led Pasok to a narrow victory in the parliamentary elections, serving until 2004. Simitis was succeeded as party leader by George Papandreou (1952–) in 2004.
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