CULTURE

Bust unveiled to honor former PM Georgios Rallis on Corfu

The appointment – for the afternoon of May 21, 2008 – was not with history. That appointment was after his 50 years in politics, for Georgios Rallis, the Corfiot, and the books he wrote that were informed by his knowledge, ethos and sincerity. Now he gazes out at his Corfiot compatriots who have chosen to keep him with them. The Municipal Council of Corfu, led by Mayor Sotiris Mikalev, unanimously voted to place a bronze bust of the former prime minister, himself the son and grandson of prime ministers, in central Kofinetta Square, where his mother, Zaira Theotoki-Ralli, lived out the final years of her life. As the afternoon shadows lengthened, the blue light shone over the balcony flower pots and the bust covered with the Greek flag. First to arrive were members of Rallis family: his widow Lena, his daughters Zaira Papalygoura, who is an associate professor at Thessaloniki University, and Ioanna Ralli-Farmakidou, a photographer, and her husband Dimitris Farmakidis. Also there were Niki Karamanlis, Efi-Eftychia Christodoulou and Rallis’s private secretary throughout his political career, Katy Paraskeva. Then there was the Corfiot contingent, Georgios Theotokis and Loulou Theotoki, Rallis’s first cousins, Danae Rallis, the sister of ambassadors Dimitris and Alexandros Rallis, the president of the Corfu Literary Society Yiannis Pieris, its vice president Gina Voulgari, and from Zurich Christos Fokas, owner of the Corfu Palace Hotel. The Capodistrias Philharmonic began playing as Bishop Nektarios of Corfu arrived. Also there was veteran politician Leonidas Kyrkos, Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas and Aliki Nikiforou, assistant professor at the Ionian University. Sioufas spoke to the gathering about Rallis the politician and his work, noting that the occasion coincided with the 144th anniversary of the union of the Ionian Islands with the independent Greek state and the publication of the book «Constitutional Texts of the Ionian Islands» by the Parliament foundation suggested by Rallis to then Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki in February 2006, shortly before his death. After the national anthem was played, Sioufas and the Corfu mayor unveiled the bust, sculpted by 33-year-old Corfiot artist Eva Karydi. Mikalev made a moving speech about the former prime minister, particularly his contribution to the normalization of political life after the fall of the dictatorship in 1974.