The 1981 Greek legislative elections' marked a new era in modern history of Greece.
Andreas Papandreou and PASOK faced New Democracy and George Rallis. Papandreou achieved a landslide and PASOK formed the first socialistic government in the history of Greece. (In 1963 Centrists had formed a government under the leadership of George Papandreou, Andreas' father, but their party, Center Union, was not a socialistic party but a centrist, socio-liberal one).
After the formation of the new government, Papandreou appeased the conservative President of the Republic and founder of New Democracy, Constantine Caramanlis, and assured him that he will follow a moderate policy as far as foreign affairs are concerned. Thus, despite his radical rhetoric before the elections, Papandreou did not remove Greece from NATO and the EU. At the same time, the prime minister found a certain modus vivendi with Caramanlis. In internal affairs, Papandreou's government introduced several interesting reforms (legalization of civil wedding, new family law, nationalization of certain private companies, etc.).
The main opposition party, New Democracy, faced serious internal conflicts. George Rallis was forced to resign after the defeat and he was succeeded by Evangelos Averof, former minister under Caramanlis governments. In 1984 Averof resigned because of health problems and Konstantinos Mitsotakis became the new leader of New Democracy. Noteworthy, Mitsotakis and Papandreou were both centrists before 1967 and they belonged to the same party, George Papandreou's Center Union. Nevertheless, they were strong opponents and they never liked each other. Papandreou was calling Mitsotakis "a defector, an apostate", because in 1965 he defected from the ruling Center Union and participated in a new government pleasing to Constantine II, who had just accepted George Papandreou's resignation after a serious disagreement between the King and the prime minister.
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