Vangelis Meimarakis
Βαγγέλης Μεϊμαράκης
Leader of the Opposition
In office
5 July 2015 – 24 November 2015
Prime MinisterAlexis Tsipras
Preceded byAntonis Samaras
Succeeded byIoannis Plakiotakis
President of New Democracy
Acting
In office
5 July 2015 – 24 November 2015
DeputyStavros Dimas
Dimitris Avramopoulos
Preceded byAntonis Samaras
Succeeded byIoannis Plakiotakis
Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament
In office
29 June 2012 – 6 February 2015
Preceded byVyron Polydoras
Succeeded byZoi Konstantopoulou
Minister for National Defence
In office
15 February 2006 – 7 October 2009
Prime MinisterKostas Karamanlis
Preceded bySpilios Spiliotopoulos
Succeeded byEvangelos Venizelos
Member of the Hellenic Parliament
In office
1989–2019
ConstituencyAthens B
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
2019
Personal details
Born
Evangelos Meimarakis

(1953-12-14) 14 December 1953 (age 67)
Athens, Greece
Political partyNew Democracy
Spouse(s)Ioanna Kolokota
Children2
Alma materUniversity of Athens
Panteion University

Evangelos-Vasileios "Vangelis" Meimarakis (Greek: Ευάγγελος-Βασίλειος "Βαγγέλης" Μεϊμαράκης, pronounced [eˈvaɲɟeloz vaˈsili.oz vaɲˈɟeliz mei̯maˈracis]; born 14 December 1953), is a Greek lawyer and politician who served as the acting President of New Democracy and Leader of the Opposition in Greece from 5 July to 24 November 2015, competing as the challenger to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the September 2015 Greek legislative election. He lost in the run-off of the New Democracy leadership election, 2015–16. Since 2019, he has been a Member of the European Parliament.

Meimarakis previously served as the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament from 2012 to 2014 and as Minister for National Defence from 2006 to 2009. He was a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Athens B from 1989 until 2019.

Early life and education

Meimarakis was born in Athens and is of Cretan descent. Meimarakis's father was a Member of the Hellenic Parliament with ERE representing Heraklion.[1]

Meimarakis joined New Democracy in 1974 as a student at Panteion University. That year, he helped found the Youth Organisation of New Democracy (ONNED).[1]

Political career

Early political career

Meimarakis was appointed chairman of the ONNED Executive Committee in 1984, and led the organisation to its 1st Conference in March 1987. He has been a member of the New Democracy Central Committee since the 2nd Party Conference in 1986.[2]

He was first elected as a New Democracy Member of the Hellenic Parliament representing Athens B in the general elections of 1989 (June and November). He has since been reelected in 1990, 1993, 1996 and 2000.

Meimarakis was one of New Democracy's parliamentary representatives from 1991 to 1992.[1][2] He served as Deputy Minister for Sports from 1992 to 1993. In March 2001, at New Democracy's 5th Conference, he was elected as Secretary of the Central Committee, the first person to hold this role. He was reelected as Secretary in July 2004, and remained in this role until 15 February 2006, when he was appointed as the Minister for National Defense in the First Cabinet of Kostas Karamanlis.[2]

Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament

On 29 June 2012, he became Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, a position he held until the next Parliament was elected in January 2015.

Acting Leader of the New Democracy

In July 2015, Antonis Samaras resigned as leader of New Democracy following the 'No' vote in the bailout referendum. Meimarakis took over from Samaras as an interim leader.[3] In this capacity he led the party into the snap election on 20 September 2015, at which New Democracy were defeated for a second time in nine months by SYRIZA.[4] Meimarakis did however succeed in slightly increasing the ND vote share from 27.8% to 28.1%. Despite this, their seat tally dropped from 76 to 75.[5]

Meimarakis continued as interim leader following the September election, announcing that a New Democracy leadership election would take place before the end of the year and that he would be a candidate. On 24 November, Meimarakis appointed the secretary of the New Democracy parliamentary group, Ioannis Plakiotakis, as a Vice President of the party, before resigning and therefore making Plakiotakis the new interim leader.[6]

Member of the European Parliament

Meimarakis has been a Member of the European Parliament since the 2019 European elections. He has since been serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on Security and Defence. Since 2021, he has been part of the Parliament's delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe.[7]

Within the centre-right European People's Party Group (EPP), Meimarakis is one of the deputies of chairman Manfred Weber.[8]

Personal life

Meimarakis is married to Ioanna Kolokota, the daughter of Greek actress Nitsa Marouda, and they have two daughters.[1] He is fluent in English.[2]

Meimarakis is seen as down-to-earth, with Vassilis Monastiriotis of the London School of Economics commenting that he appeals to: "a broad cross-section: both working-class voters, who see him as a man of the people, and the traditional higher-income New Democracy supporters, who see him as a cunning operator able to hit Tsipras below the belt".[3]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Vangelis Meimarakis: New Democracy leader takes Greece back". BBC News. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Evangelos Meimarakis CV" (PDF). Meimarakis. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Henley, Jon (19 September 2015). "Vangelis Meimarakis charms Greek voters: 'He's not new, but he's genuine'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  4. ^ Suzanne Daley (September 20, 2015), Alexis Tsipras Given a Second Chance by Greek Voters New York Times.
  5. ^ "Major win for SYRIZA with 7.5-point lead over New Democracy". Vima. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  6. ^ Petrou, Zacharias (24 November 2015). "V. Meimarakis resigns as interim New Democracy leader". Independent Balkan News Agency. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. ^ Members of the delegation to the Conference on the Future of Europe European Parliament.
  8. ^ EPP Group re-elects Manfred Weber as Group Chair European People's Party Group (EPP), press release of June 5, 2019.
Political offices Preceded bySpilios Spiliotopoulos Minister for National Defence 2006–2009 Succeeded byEvangelos Venizelos Preceded byVyron Polydoras Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament 2012–2015 Succeeded byZoi Konstantopoulou Preceded byAntonis Samaras Leader of the Opposition 2015 Succeeded byIoannis Plakiotakis Party political offices Preceded byAntonis Samaras President of New DemocracyActing 2015 Succeeded byIoannis PlakiotakisActing