United Democratic Left

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.

United Democratic Left

Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά
LeaderIoannis Passalidis (first)
Ilias Iliou (last)
FounderIoannis Passalidis
Founded1951 (1951)
Dissolved1977 (1977)
Preceded byDemocratic Alignment
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Political positionLeft-wing


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 year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Seats Status in Parliament
1951 Collective leadership 180,640 10.6%
10 / 258
Fourth party
1952 Ioannis Passalidis 152,011 9.5%
0 / 300
1956 Part of the Democratic Union
19 / 300
Fifth party
1958 939,902 24.4%
79 / 300
Main opposition party
Part of the All-Democratic Agricultural Front
22 / 300
Third party
1963 669,297 14.3%
28 / 300
Third party
1964 542,865 11.8%
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