CULTURE

Veteran statesman Georgios Rallis’s last political act at First Cemetery

Georgios Rallis’s final political statement was his own funeral, showing as it did that the consensus and concord that he believed in and taught throughout his political career not only was real but deeply rooted, as could be seen from the crowd that gathered to bid him farewell this week. A distinguished political leader from a generation that produced Constantine Karamanlis, Andreas Papandreou, Evangelos Averoff, Constantine Mitsotakis, Harilaos Florakis and Leonidas Kyrkos, the parliamentary deputy and minister Georgios Rallis became prime minister for 17 months in 1980-81. When he lost the 1981 elections he resigned as prime minister but stayed on as a member of Parliament, setting examples for the country and the people and for his own party. This week, the government of Costas Karamanlis gave him a state funeral at Athens First Cemetery, where he was buried in the presence of his widow Lena and his daughters Zaira and Ioanna, his grandchildren, and all his loved ones. In death, he united the country’s political leadership for one last time, from the prime minister to former presidents Costis Stephanopoulos and Christos Sartzetakis, former prime ministers Tzannis Tzanetakis, Ioannis Grivas, Constantine Mitsotakis and Costas Simitis, and PASOK leader George Papandreou. In accordance with the deceased’s wishes, the ceremony was simple and no speeches were made.