Zaïmis, Alexander

Zaïmis, Alexander zäˈēmēs [key], 1855–1936, Greek statesman. At the end of the disastrous 1897 war with Turkey, he became premier for the first time (1897–99). He was again premier in 1901–2 and 1904–6, was high commissioner in Crete (1906–11), and was premier three times during World War I between 1915 and 1917. He pursued a policy of “armed neutrality” in the war, did not interfere with the Allied landing at Salonica, and made way for Eleutherios Venizelos on the abdication of King Constantine I, when the neutrality policy had become untenable. Zaïmis headed (1926–28) a coalition cabinet that helped end the earlier chaos of the first republic. In 1929 he was elected president of Greece; he was reelected in 1934. His presidency was marked by the struggle between the republicans and the royalists, whose respective leaders, Venizelos and Panayoti Tsaldaris, alternated as premiers. In 1935, General Kondylis, who had put down the Venizelist uprising, ousted Tsaldaris and held a plebiscite that restored the monarchy. Zaïmis died in exile at Vienna.

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