Founding PASOK member and former minister in the governments of late Andreas Papandreou, Yiannis Charalambopoulos, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95.
Charalambopoulos was a close aide of Papandreou and, in his successful political career, served as government vice-president, foreign and defence minister. He also participated actively in the fight against the dictatorship.
Charalambopoulos was born in 1919 in Psari, Messenia. He studied at the Hellenic Army Academy and completed his military studies at Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, southeast London. During World War II, he served as the commander of an infantry unit during the Greco-Italian War and later in the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre. He left the army in 1963 and became a politician in the Center Union, being elected to Parliament representing Messenia in the 1963 and 1964 elections.
During the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Charalambopoulos founded the Democratic National Resistance Movement, and spent three years in internal exile for his opposition to the regime. After the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, Charalambopoulos became a founding member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, and was elected to Parliament on its lists in all elections from 1974 to 2000, representing the Athens B constituency.
After the accession of Greece to the EEC on January 1, 1981, he became a provisional member of the European Parliament representing Greece until the country could hold its first European Parliament elections. On October 21, 1981 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first cabinet of Andreas Papandreou and served in the position until July 26, 1985. He was then appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Greece during Papandreou’s second term until 18 November 1988 and he also received the portfolio of National Defence on 25 April 1986 which he held until 2 July 1989.