Monday, June 18, 2012

Antonis Samaras

Antonis Samaras (Greek: Αντώνης Σαμαράς, pronounced [anˈdonis samaˈras]; born 23 May 1951) is a Greek economist and politician who has been leader of New Democracy, Greece's major conservative party, since 2009. A Member of Parliament for Messenia, he was Minister of Finance in 1989, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1990 and again from 1990 to 1992. Later, he was Minister of Culture in 2009. He was best known for the 1993 controversy, when he effectively caused the New Democracy government, of which he was a member, to fall from power. In spite of this he rejoined the party in 2004 and was elected to its leadership in a closely fought intra-party election in late 2009. He is the 7th leader of the party since it was founded in 1974.

Born in Athens, Samaras attended school in the Athens College (founded by his maternal greatgrandfather, Stephanos Deltas, and Emmanouil Benakis, Deltas' father-in-law), and graduated from Amherst College in 1974 with a degree in economics, and then from Harvard University in 1976 with an MBA. He is a member of the Greek Parliament for the prefecture of Messenia (1977–1996 and 2007–present) as well as a former Finance, Foreign, and Culture Minister. He is the son of the late Dr. Constantine Samaras, Professor of Cardiology, and the late Lena, née Zannas, a maternal granddaughter of author Penelope Delta. His brother, Alexander, is an architect. His paternal uncle, George Samaras, was a long-standing member of Parliament for Messenia in the 1950s and '60s.

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