Costas Simitis, a professor at Panteios University of Athens, was born on 26th June 1936 at Piraeus and studied Law and Economics in Germany and England. He began his academic career as an assistant professor in Costantia of Germany in 1971 and went on to become a professor at the University of Gissen from 1971 to 1975. He has been a professor at Panteios University of Athens since 1977.
In 1965 he was one of the founders of the Political Research Association "Alexandros Papanastasiou", where he served as a secretary. In 1967 the association evolved to become "Democratic Defence", an organisation against the dictatorship that was involved later to the establishment of the political party of "PASOK".
In 1969 he escaped from Greece, while the martial court prosecuted him for attempted arson. In 1970 he joined the Pan-Hellenic Fighting Movement and in 1974 he was one of the founding members of PASOK, taking part at the formulation of the manifesto of the 3rd September.
Costas Simitis was a member of the first Executive Office and the first Central Committee of PASOK. However in 1981 he was excluded from the lists of candidate MPs due to some posters that carried the message "No to Europe of monopolies, Yes to Europe of the peoples", published by him while he was in charge of the ideological instruction of the party in 1979.
In 1981 he took over the Ministry of Agriculture and in 1985, when he was first elected MP, he replaced Gerasimoss Arsenis in the Ministry of National Economy to signal a change of the economic policy of the government towards a direction of stabilisation. However, in 1987 he resigned from this position after the Prime Minister reversed the government's revenue policy. He has been continuously elected MP, since June 1985, in the 2nd district of Piraeus. He has also served, for a small period of time, as Minister of Education, and when PASOK won in the elections of 1993, he took over the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Research and Technology, to resign in September 1995 after Andreas Papandreou held him responsible for the managing of the privatisation of the shipyards of Skaramangas.
In January 1996, after Andreas Papandreou resigned, the parliamentary group of PASOK elected Simitis as Prime Minister after two elections to prevail over the other candidate Akis Tsohatzopoulos. A few months later, the 4th Convention of PASOK also elected him to the Presidency of the party with 54% of the votes.
Costas Simitis is considered to be the conveyor of the Democratic Socialist Current in PASOK, and the leader to a European direction of the country as well as an advocate of the modernisation of the political system. He has done a lot of writing about the policy of the socialist area.
He is married to Daphne Simitis and has two daughters, Fiona and Marilena.
© 1996 Macedonian Press Agency