- Title: Greece bids farewell to former leader Mitsotakis, early advocate of austerity
- Date: 31st May 2017
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (MAY 31, 2017) (REUTERS) CURRENT GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, LEAVING FUNERAL CROWD BOOING TSIPRAS
- Embargoed: 14th June 2017 16:31
- Keywords: Greece funeral Mitsotakis Tsipras church Bush
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0046J66TDZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Greece bid farewell on Wednesday (May 31) to former conservative prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, one of its most prominent politicians who was both revered and loathed for pushing for early austerity.
Mitsotakis, whose political career spanned more than half a century, served as prime minister from 1990-93. He died on Monday aged 98.
Hundreds of supporters queued outside Athens's Metropolitan Cathedral, where his body lay in state, to pay their respects before a grand public funeral. A private service and burial will take place on Thursday on his native Crete.
In a reminder of his divisive legacy, a few boos were heard as leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived and left.
Mitsotakis was first elected to parliament in 1946 at the age of 28, held several ministerial posts and eventually become leader of conservative New Democracy in 1984.
With a one-seat majority in parliament, Mitsotakis pushed for spending cuts, reforms to the civil service and privatising urban transport. It sparked major union strikes and violent protests.
He maintained that had his policies been adopted, Greece could have avoided a pummelling debt crisis which erupted in 2009 and forced it to turn to the European Union and International Monetary Fund to avert bankruptcy and a euro exit.
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