The winner of the July 7 elections and new prime minister of Greece became New Democracy president in January 2016, after he was elected by his party members.
For three and a half years he worked tirelessly and diligently to turn the image of the conservative party from a worn-out, rightist political entity to a modern liberal party that embraces the center as well.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the son of former Prime Minister of Greece (1990-1993) and honorary president of New Democracy, Konstantinos Mitsotakis. For some, this is a blessing. For many more, it is a curse, as his father is considered an apostate who defected from the centrist Georgios Papandreou administration in 1965 and thus toppled the government, which led Greece to political chaos at the time.
Nevertheless, Kyriakos Mitsotakis forged his own path to modernize New Democracy and remove the image of the old conservative elite that haunted the party in recent years.
In a move that was far from simply symbolic, and amidst accusations from Alexis Tsipras that New Democracy represents the oligarchy, Mitsotakis moved party headquarters from the rich Kolonaki neighborhood to humble, working-class Moschato, where rent is four times lower.
As opposition leader, the ND chief was moderate and realistic, seldom falling in the trap to follow Tsipras and his cabinet in their arrogant, often vulgar, politicking. His low tones were perceived by Tsipras as a sign of weakness, with the prime minister stating more than once that, “there is not one in a million chance that Mr. Mitsotakis will win the (local government/European Parliament) election.”
Life and education
Kyriakos Mitsotakis was born in Athens on March 4, 1968, during the military junta. His centrist father was not liked by the colonels, so the family was on house arrest. He was only three months old when his family moved to self-exile in Paris.
The Mitsotakis family returned to Greece when democracy was restored in 1974. In 1986 he left for the U.S.A. where he studied Social Studies at Harvard University. He graduated summa cum laude in 1990. He was also honored with the Hoopes prize.
Mitsotakis worked as an economic analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank in London from 1990 to 1991. He later returned to Greece and went to the Hellenic Air Force to serve his military duty. After the service, he returned to the United States where he continued his studies at Stanford University from which he received a Masters in the International Economic Plan. He continued his studies at Harvard where he received an MBA.
From 1995 to 1997, he worked for McKinsey & Company in London. He later returned to Greece where he worked at Alpha Ventures, a private equity subsidiary of Alpha Bank. He continued with the National Bank of Greece group, as Managing Director of NBG Venture Capital. From January 2000 to April 2003, he worked in the International Council at the National Enterprise Council.
Mitsotakis’ political career started in the 2004 general elections when he ran as an MP with New Democracy at Athens B constituency. The conservative party headed by Kostas Karamanlis won the elections and the young Mitsotakis received more votes than any other New Democracy candidate in the country and was elected to parliament.
He was consistently elected to parliament in every election since. In June 2013, Mitsotakis was appointed as Minister of Administrative Reform and e-Governance of Greece (June 2013-January 2015) with the Antonis Samaras government.
When the Samaras government lost the January 2015 election to Syriza and Alexis Tsipras, Samaras resigned appointing Vangelis Meimarakis as temporary party chief. Meimarakis butted heads with Tsipras in the September 2015 snap election where Syriza won again.
After the second loss to the leftist party, procedures to elect a new president commenced. In a January 10, 2016 ballot where more than 400,000 ND members voted, Mitsotakls became the ninth New Democracy president and the first to be elected from the party base.
Mitsotakis speaks English, French, and German. He is married to Mareva Grabowski and they have three children, Sophia, Konstantinos, and Daphne.