CULTURE

Family, associates, friends gather to remember Constantine Karamanlis

To mark the fifth anniversary of the death of statesman Constantine Karamanlis, founder of the New Democracy (ND) party, his close associates, friends and members of his personal guard gathered around his grave, huddling under umbrellas in the persistent rain, following an invitation by the family of his youngest brother Achilleas, parliamentary deputy for Serres, his wife Niki and daughter Fotini. Also there, of course, was his nephew, the ND party’s current leader Costas Karamanlis, along with the president of the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation, Ambassador Petros Molyviatis. Two other former prime ministers were present – his close associate who was with him when he took Greece into the (then) European Community, Georgios Rallis – and honorary ND leader Constantine Mitsotakis. Also at the service were all those who had served as ministers in Karamanlis’s governments – Yiannis Boutos, Yiannis Varvitsiotis, Miltiades Evert, Nikos Martis, Alexandros Papadongonas, Giorgos Kontogeorgis, Nikos Themelis, Stavros Dimas, Nikos Gelestathis, Ioannis Paleokrassas, Fani Palli-Petralia, Anna Benaki, Marietta Yiannakou and parliamentary deputies Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Spilios Spiliotopoulos, Miltiadies Varvitsiotis and Sotiris Kouvelas. Anyone who ever wanted to speak to Karamanlis had to go through the office of Lena Triantafylli, his office director after the fall of the junta and during his terms as prime minister and president of the republic. On the morning of that rainy Friday, April 18, she, apart from his siblings, was the only one who really appeared to be upset. All the others, politicians, journalists and friends, were talking about the «air of victory» for the party that has been apparent in recent public opinion polls, a note of optimism that lightened the atmosphere. There were many smiling faces at the service, something that would not have worried the late statesman in the slightest. «Greece will live on without me,» he used to say. He was always right, of course. Not only is Greece getting on without him but some people who were once against joining the European Community and would shout slogans against the EEC and NATO, have now brought together 25 European leaders under the shadow of the Acropolis to be photographed in the idyllic setting of the Stoa of Attalos. Socialism is all very well, as long as you give it up in time. Nevertheless, New Democracy is ready to do battle, with the advantage given to it by the polls.