G~tECIANT KING ASSERTS SK HIMSELF. King George of Greece, who ie turned to the trhrone on November 25, accepting an invitation extend ed to hian as the result of a plebis cite of the nation, after 12 years in exile, is m aking it clear from the outset that he does not -intend to .be King of any jolitical faction.
but of a united people. On the occa sion of his return it was stated that, despite thile general juibil'ation, there was disappointment in many qua"r ters, because the royal proclaama tion, which consigned the past to oblivion and promised equity and justice for all, wade no mention of an amnesty for those concerned in the revolution of March last, led by General Plarstiras, after which a number of leaders were executed or otherwise severely punished, and a number of escapees, including the general and the veteran Republican leader, M. Venizelos, were sen- tenced in absentia. The King, howv ever, lost little time in making known very deefinitely where he stood in the matter, for when it in evibably came up for official discus sion, two or three ,days later, he intimated very firmly his desire that the projected aannesty to political offenders should be general, in eluding the March rebels, notably General Plastiras and M. Venizelos, who had been sentenced to the ex treme penalty in their absence. The majority of aimembers of the ultra-Royalist Kondylis Cabinet took exception to the promulgation of a decree which would include the rebel leaders in the amnesty, but when their view was placed before the King by the Prime Minister he re solutely refused to sign any amnesty unless all poltical offenders were in cluded. When General Kondylis saw the King again the next day he re emphasised his Cabinet's attitude, and intimated that a numubner of its memibers threatened to resign, but the King was not to be shaken, and Iset about finding a new Government. Indeed, it is even st-aited that he threatened to leave the country again if the opposition to a general amnesty were persisted in. Demon strations by supporters of General Kondylis appear merely to have con. firmed the King in his attitude, and his courageous stand for the am nesty, which would enable the I Republican leaders again to parti cipate in the political life of the comnmunity, is said to be winning hilh much popular support. Finally the Kondylis uGovernment "resigned, and the King conunis sioned M. Demerdjis, a professor of law, who was a member of the Venizelos Cabinet of 1910, but who subsequently retired from politics, to form an emergency Govern .nent for the purpose of proclaiming the general amnesty and holding a
general election. This he did, securing a team which sides with the King on the amnesty issue, and which does not include a single professional politician. The first act of the new Government was to announce that a general decree of amnesty for all political offenders, accompanied by a restoration of their forfeited property in most cases, unless it had been obtained irregularly, would be issued on December 2. It made the fairly reasonable stipulations that the leaders of the March rebellion, in cluding General Plastiras and M. Venizelos, would not have their property restored and that pardoned officers would not be reinstated in the army. To have done other wise might have placed a premium on rebellion, and even General Kondylis and his followers now appear to be satisfied with the King's attitude. According to the Athens correspondent of the Lon don "Times," King George's sturdy stand on the amnesty question has made a great appeal, even to the masses of the people who previously were resentful of or indifferent to his restoration, and they now freely recall his recent undertaking to for get the past and to rule as King of all the Greeks. It is probable that neither the country nor the political parties .are over all their troubles. The recent plebiscite which resulted in the re call of the King, is freely stated to have been a monument of scan dal, in which even troops were driven openly from booth to booth, voting for the restoration at each. and the previous general election twas little lbettter. In such cir cumstances it is not surprising that the Kondylis faction, the largest in the Chauber, fears that the result of a really free and honest general election i ich as is proposed by the Demerdjis Government. That, how ever, is a matter of detail. The King is out for the honest govern ment of his country, and the only way he may get it is by an honest and free election. He seems deter mined to do his best for the whole o£ his people, irrespective of their political faith, and if he persists in that stand, he should be able firmly to re-establish the monarchy in the hearts of a loyal and ap preciative people.