Former prime minister Georgios Rallis dies

Georgios Rallis, who was prime minister when Greece joined the European Community in 1981 and formed part of one the country’s most important political dynasties, died of heart failure yesterday at the age of 87. Over a political career spanning more than half a century, Rallis served in various ministries but is perhaps best known for spearheading educational reforms in the 1970s which saw compulsory education extended to nine years from six. His appointment as prime minister in May 1980 was cut short in October 1981 when PASOK swept to power. At a pre-election rally in central Athens that year, Rallis famously berated New Democracy supporters for booing the PASOK opposition. «I don’t want any booing,» he declared. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday praised Rallis’s qualities of diplomacy and integrity, describing him as «a true democrat who unfalteringly strove for dialogue and consensus on major issues… and as prime minister invested in the creation of a new political climate when his political rivals had opted for confrontation, polarization and populism.» President Karolos Papoulias saluted Rallis for his «discretion and wisdom.» «Georgios Rallis’s political career was marked by his love for his country and his faith in a better future for Greece,» Papoulias said. Rallis is the last in a political dynasty that included his father Ioannis Rallis, who died in prison in 1946 following his conviction for Nazi collaboration while prime minister.