ATHENS: Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis died Monday at the age of 98, his family said.
“He died at 0100 (2200 GMT) surrounded by the people whom he loved and who loved him,” a family statement said.
Born in 1918, Mitsotakis had quit politics in 2004, stepping down as Greece’s longest-serving parliamentarian.
The conservative politician was prime minister from 1990 to 1993 and served without interruption as MP since 1946, except for a ten-year break during and immediately after Greece’s 1967-1974 military junta.
During World War II Mitsotakis was active in the resistance against the Nazi occupation in his native island of Crete.
In 1967 he was arrested by the junta but managed to escape to Paris, where he lived in exile until his return to Greece after the re-establishment of democracy in 1974.
But despite his democratic credentials, Mitsotakis became a hate-figure for Greece’s center-left after playing a vital part in the downfall of the government of George Papandreou in 1965.
The political instability that followed culminated in power seizure by a brutal army dictatorship that ruled the country from 1967 to 1974.
Mitsotakis was head of the conservative New Democracy party from 1984 to 1993 and had epic battles with Papandreou’s son Andreas, head of the socialist party Pasok.
A grandnephew of Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, Mitsotakis belonged to a powerful Crete family. Two of his four children followed him into politics and parliament.
His son Kyriakos took over the party in 2016 while his daughter Dora has served as mayor of Athens and foreign minister.
His grandson Costas Bakoyannis is a regional governor in western Greece. AFP