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Dora Bakoyianni

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Dora Bakoyianni

Dora Bakoyianni (born 1954), is the mayor of Athens, capital of Greece. She is the eldest of four children of veteran Greek politician Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who was prime minister of Greece from 1990 to 1993 and leader of the country's conservative party, New Democracy, from 1984 to 1993. Bakoyianni studied political science and public law at the University of Athens, and politics and communication in Munich, Germany. She is fluent in English, French and German.

In 1968 Dora and her family fled to Paris to escape the military dictatorship that ruled Greece for seven years starting in 1967. They returned to Athens in 1974 when military rule collapsed.

That same year she married Pavlos Bakoyiannis, a respected journalist and politician. They had two children, Alexia and Kostas. Over the next several years she worked in the Ministry of Economic Co-ordination and, later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1984, when her father was elected leader of the New Democracy party, she became his chief of staff.

In 1989, members of the "November 17" Greek extremist group assassinated her husband, then a deputy in the Greek parliament, as he entered his office building.

When her father was elected Prime Minister the following year, Bakoyianni served first as an under secretary of state, and then as Minister of Culture. She was re-elected three times as deputy for Evritania, and later moved her candidacy to a district of central Athens, where she was elected by a sweeping majority.

When New Democracy lost power in 1993, and her father gave up the leadership of the party, she successfully ran for a seat in its central committee. In 2000 the new leader of the party, Costas Caramanlis, appointed her shadow foreign and defence minister.

In June 2002 the investigation against November 17 intensified, and a series of arrests began that have so far netted 19 individuals, most of whom have acknowledged being members of the terrorist group. Among them are three men who allegedly confessed to participating in the murder of Pavlos Bakoyiannis.

In the summer of 2002, when Caramanlis was looking for a way to demonstrate his party's growing strength against the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement in local elections, he picked Bakoyianni to run for Mayor of Athens. She led a large field of candidates in the first round of the elections in October 2002, winning it by a large margin, and then trounced her PASOK opponent in the run-off a week later with the biggest majority in the city's history.

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