The restoration of 1935 and the road to dictatorship

Amidst the political chaos (social tension, violent labour demonstrations) that marked the period 1933-35, the procedure for the restoration of the monarchy was put in place. The results of the rigged plebiscite of 3 November (by the government of the coup of Georgios Kondylis) legalized the restoration of George II.

The elections of 26 January 1936, the last in the Greek inter-war period, ended the cycle of domination by two political blocs (Venizelists-Royalists), that had held a leading role for almost a third of a century. None of the two large blocs possessed an absolute majority in parliament. Their leaders could not reach an agreement for the formation of a government of coalition. A regulatory factor was the vote of the Communists, whose participation in authority was categorically rejected by the Palace and the military leadership. Nevertheless, there had been an effort on the part of the Liberals and the Communists to reach an understanding, what is known as the 'Sophoulis-Sklavainas' agreement. The result was the election of the former as president of the parliament and the expression of strong concerns and threats on the part of the Right for the prospect of the continuation of the coalition. K. Demertzis was appointed prime minister, while with the full consent of the Liberals and Venizelos personally, who was in Paris, the King assigned the ministry of the Army to Ionnnis Metaxas. A few days later Demertzis died (the death of Venizelos had also only recently occurred), and King George, without consulting the political leaders, assigned the post of prime minister to Metaxas, leader of the small party of 'Freethinkers' that held only 7 seats in the parliament. However, Metaxas took a confidence vote in parliament and won a large majority from both opposing sides. He was voted down only by a cadre of Venizelist-inspired politicians (Papanastasiou, Kaphantaris, Papandreou etc.) and the Communists. In August 1936, Metaxas, on the pretext of imminent riots instigated by the Communist Party, disrupted the constitution and - virtually with the support of the bourgeois political world - proclaimed a dictatorship.