United Democratic Left

Last updated
United Democratic Left

Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά
Leader Ioannis Passalidis (first)
Ilias Iliou (last)
Founder Ioannis Passalidis
Founded1951 (1951)
Dissolved1977 (1977)
Preceded by Democratic Alignment
Ideology Democratic socialism
Political position Left-wing

The United Democratic Left (Greek : Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά (ΕΔΑ), Eniéa Dimokratikí Aristerá (EDA)) was a political party in Greece, active mostly before the Greek military junta of 1967–74.



The party was founded in July 1951 by prominent center-left and leftist politicians, some of which were former members of ELAS. While initially EDA was meant to act as a substitute and political front of the banned Communist Party of Greece, it eventually acquired a voice of its own, rather pluralistic and moderate. This development was more clearly shown at the time of the 1968 split in the ranks of Communist Party of Greece, with almost all former members of EDA joining the faction with Euro-communist, moderate tendencies.


EDA participated in all the elections in Greece from 1952 until 1964. In the 1958 elections it managed to become the leading party of the opposition, an achievement all the more surprising in view of the recent end of the Greek civil war and the consequently prevailing anti-Left politics at the time.

In the 1961 election and 1964 election, EDA indirectly supported the Center Union against the National Radical Union (NRU). Before the 1963 election, Greece entered a protracted period of political and social unrest, with the assassination of EDA MP Gregoris Lambrakis, providing further inflammation. EDA and the Center Union accused prime minister Constantine Karamanlis and the NRU of the murder, which resulted in more (sometimes violent) manifestations. Karamanlis denounced his accusers, and warned that they contributed to the political instability of the country. An independent judicial inquiry held under public prosecutor Christos Sartzetakis concluded that those responsible for the assassination were far-right extremists linked with rogue elements in the Greek security forces. However, no specific instructions from the ruling political leadership were identified, nor proven in the subsequent trial of the perpetrators.

The party's end

With the advent of the dictatorship of 1967, the party was outlawed by the regime and its members were persecuted.

After the restoration of democracy, ΕDΑ reappeared in the elections of 1974 in an alliance with the Communist Party of Greece and the Communist Party of Greece (Interior), which were allowed to operate once again, and other leftist parties, under the leadership of Ilias Iliou, the most prominent politician of the Left in Greece at the time. Following a split in the alliance, ΕDΑ never participated independently in Greek politics again after 1977. Under the leadership of Manolis Glezos, the party took part in the elections of 1981 and 1985 in an alliance with and within the ranks of Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

Politicians of EDA

Well-known politicians of EDA were:

Electoral performance

Election yearParty LeaderNumber of votesPercentage of votesSeatsStatus in Parliament
1951 Collective leadership180,64010.6%
10 / 258
Fourth party
1952 Ioannis Passalidis 152,0119.5%
0 / 300
1956 Part of the Democratic Union
19 / 300
Fifth party
1958 939,90224.4%
79 / 300
Main opposition party
Part of the All-Democratic Agricultural Front
22 / 300
Third party
1963 669,29714.3%
28 / 300
Third party
1964 542,86511.8%
22 / 300
Third party
1967–1974: banned
1974 Ilias Iliou Part of the United Left
1 / 300
Minor opposition party
1977 Part of the Progress and Left Forces Alliance
1 / 300
Minor opposition party

See also

Related Research Articles

Konstantinos Karamanlis

Konstantinos G. Karamanlis, commonly anglicised to Constantine Karamanlis or just Caramanlis, was a four-time Prime Minister and twice President of the Third Hellenic Republic, and a towering figure of Greek politics, whose political career spanned much of the latter half of the 20th century.

Communist Party of Greece

The Communist Party of Greece is a Marxist–Leninist political party in Greece. Founded in 1918 as the Socialist Labour Party of Greece by Avraam Benaroya, it is the oldest political party in modern Greek politics. The party was banned in 1936, but played a significant role in the Greek resistance and the Greek Civil War, and its membership peaked in the mid-1940s. Legalization of the KKE was restored following the fall of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974.

New Democracy (Greece) Greek political party

New Democracy is a liberal-conservative political party in Greece. In contemporary Greek politics, New Democracy has been the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties along with its historic rival, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). New Democracy and PASOK were created in the wake of the toppling of the military junta in 1974, and ruled Greece alternately for the next four decades. Following the electoral decline of PASOK, New Democracy remained one of the two major parties in Greece, the other being the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

Christos Sartzetakis

Christos Sartzetakis is a Greek jurist and former supreme justice of the Court of Cassation, who served as the President of Greece from 1985 to 1990.

Manolis Glezos Greek politician

Manolis Glezos was a Greek left-wing politician and folk hero, best known for his participation in the World War II resistance.

Grigoris Lambrakis

Grigoris Lambrakis was a Greek politician, physician, track and field athlete, and member of the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of Athens. A member of the Greek resistance to Axis rule during WWII, he later became a prominent anti-war activist. His assassination by right-wing zealots provoked mass protests and led to a political crisis.

Spyros Markezinis

Spyridon Markezinis or Markesinis was a Greek politician, longtime member of the Hellenic Parliament, and briefly the Prime Minister of Greece during the aborted attempt at democratization of the Greek military regime in 1973.

Charilaos Florakis

Charilaos Florakis was a leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). He is best known for establishing the dominance of the KKE over other left-wing elements, and for his flexibility and forming alliances with the conservatives.

To Vima is a Greek daily newspaper first published in 1922 by Dimitris Lambrakis, the father of Christos Lambrakis, as Elefthero Vima.

The Centre Union (EK, Greek: Ένωσις Κέντρου, Enosis Kentrou was a Greek political party, created in 1961 by Georgios Papandreou.

The National Radical Union was a Greek political party formed in 1956 by Konstantinos Karamanlis, mostly out of the Greek Rally party.

The terms Apostasia or Iouliana or the Royal Coup are used to describe the political crisis in Greece centered on the resignation, on 15 July 1965, of Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and subsequent appointment, by King Constantine II, of successive prime ministers from Papandreou's own party, the Center Union, to replace him. Defectors from the Center Union were branded by Papandreou's sympathizers as Apostates ("renegades"). The Apostasia heralded a prolonged period of political instability, which weakened the fragile post-civil war order, and ultimately led to the establishment of the military regime in April 1967.

1956 Greek legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on 19 February 1956. The result was a victory for Constantine Karamanlis and his National Radical Union party by securing the electoral vote despite trailing in the popular vote. It was the first general election in Greece in which women had the right to vote, although women had first voted in a by-election in Thessaloniki Prefecture in 1953 in which the first female MP was elected.

1958 Greek legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on 11 May 1958. The result was a second consecutive victory for Constantine Karamanlis and his National Radical Union party, which won 171 of the 300 seats in Parliament.

2007 Greek legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on Sunday, September 16, 2007, to elect the 300 members of the Hellenic Parliament. The leading party for a second term was New Democracy under the leadership of Kostas Karamanlis with 41.83%, followed by George Papandreou and Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) with 38.10%. New Democracy managed to secure an absolute but narrow majority of 152 out of 300 parliament seats. The populist Popular Orthodox Rally entered the parliament for the first time with 10 seats, while the parties of the left, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), enjoyed a significant increase in their votes. KKE got 8.15% of the votes and secured 22 parliament seats and SYRIZA got 5.04% of the votes (+1.78%) and 14 seats.

Ilias Iliou was a Greek lawyer and politician, member of the Greek Parliament and leader of the United Democratic Left (EDA). He was also a distinguished writer and jurist.

I Avgi is a daily newspaper published in Athens, Greece. It is called the "Morning newspaper of the Left" and is politically affiliated with Syriza.

Progress and Left Forces Alliance was a coalition of left-wing parties in Greece.

1980 Greek presidential election

An indirect election for the position of President of the Hellenic Republic was held by the Hellenic Parliament in April–May 1980.

Saburō Eda Japanese politician (1907-1977)

Saburō Eda was a Japanese party politician, prominent in the postwar period, who served two terms in the Member of the House of Councillors and four terms in the Member of the House of Representatives, and rose to become Secretary General and Acting Chairman of Japan Socialist Party in the early 1960s. Eda's optimistic "Eda Vision" of a broad-based, moderate form of socialism briefly won acclaim from the Japanese mass media before being beaten back by hardliners in the left wing of the party. He is the father of Japanese politician Satsuki Eda.