Greece Year in Review: Switch in power and ratification of the Prespa Agreement

Greece Year in Review: Switch in power and ratification of the Prespa Agreement

2019 signaled a change in leadership, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis assuming the prime ministry, tensions with Turkey escalating and the Prespa Agreement being ratified by the Greek Parliament, putting an end to the country’s clash with North Macedonia over the more than 27-year-old name dispute.

January 5: Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I signs the independence decree that officially grants autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and separates it from the Russian Orthodox Church.

January 12: Alexis Tsipras announces that he will seek a vote of confidence in Parliament regarding the Prespa Agreement.

Panos Kammenos and ANEL are dropping out of the coalition because of the naming of Skopje and are demanding that their executives be removed from the ministries. Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, the current chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, is appointed the new Minister of Defense.

January 16: The Tsipras Government receives a confidence vote on the Prespa Agreement with 151 votes in favor and 148 votes against. The 145 SYRIZA MPs alongside Elena Kountoura; Vassilis Kokkalis; the ANEL MPs Thanasis Papachristopoulos and Kostas Zouraris; Katerina Papakosta and Spyros Danellis voted in favor.

January 25: The Greek Parliament ratifies the Prespa Agreement with 153 votes in favor, 146 against and 1 MP abstaining. The former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia is officially named “Republic of North Macedonia”. The name dispute with Greece comes to an end after 27 years

February 8: Parliament votes to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol with 153 votes in favor and 140 against.

April 2: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras officially visits North Macedonia and is received by his counterpart Zoran Zaev.

May 26: Municipal and regional elections are held in Greece. In 107 municipalities mayors are elected from the first round. In the regional elections, Heads of the Region are elected in 6 of the 13 districts already from the first round.

In the European elections, New Democracy comes in first with 33.12%, with SYRIZA as a runner-up with 23.75%. Alexis Tsipras, whose term ends in October, calls for early parliamentary elections following SYRIZA’s hard defeat by New Democracy in the European elections.

June 2: Greek voters once again head to the polls for the second round of the municipal elections in 7 of the 13 regions and in 229 of the country’s 332 municipalities, with limited voter turnout.

July 7: Early parliamentary elections are held in Greece, for the last time under the reinforced proportionality system. New Democracy wins with a large majority (gaining 158 seats out of 300 in the Greek Parliament) and SYRIZA becomes the main opposition with 86 seats. KINAL follows with 22 seats, in front of KKE with 15 seats, the Greek Solution with 10 seats and DiEM25 with 9 seats. Golden Dawn did not make it into the Parliament.

July 8: Greek election winner Kyriakos Mitsotakis swears in as Prime Minister and succeeds Tsipras.

July 10: A sudden storm hits Halkidiki with rain, hail and 11-Beaufort winds, leaving 7 people dead (6 foreign tourists). The regional unity is declared in a state of emergency

July 19: A magnitude 5.1-Richter earthquake strikes the area 23 kilometers northwest of Athens, with no reports of serious material damage. Four people were slightly injured, including an 8-year-old boy

July 22: The new Greek government led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis receives a vote of confidence with 158 votes to 142 against.

September 24: The first meeting between Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis takes place in New York on the occasion of the UN General Assembly.

October 7: The Greek and US Governments hold the second Greece-US strategic dialogue in Athens

October 8: The trilateral summit between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt takes place in Cairo.

October 12: The Ukrainian Church’s autocephaly is recognized by the Church of Greece.

October 21: During a screening of the “Jocker” film, police raids into cinemas and arrests underage viewers.

November 11: A joint declaration is signed by Greece and China during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Greece.

December 4: The Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting takes place as part of the NATO Summit in London.

December 5: Foreign Minister Antonis Diamataris resigns.

December 6: The Greek Ambassador to Libya is expelled from Greece.

December 12: The Parliament ratifies the right to vote for Greeks abroad. /ibna