Greece's ex-king stripped of passport

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The Independent Online
EX-KING Constantine of Greece and his immediate family were declared persona non grata by the Greek parliament yesterday and had their passports removed and their assets seized, writes Leonard Doyle. The move, instigated by the Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, followed a period in which the former monarch had begun to play a more active role in Greek affairs. This included a controversial visit to the country last summer in which his yacht was tailed by Greek warships.

Although he is supported by less than 5 per cent of the population, the government feared that he was capable of stirring up trouble over Greece's neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and over the Greek minority in Albania.

The decision to strip the 53- year-old former king of his citizenship was approved by acclaim in the 300-seat parliament late last night, after the conservative opposition New Democracy Party, walked out, claiming the move was unconstitutional. 'I shall fight to retain our Greek nationality by every lawfull means,' the former monarch earlier told a London press conference.

Mr Papandreou said the ex- king and his family could have their citizenship restored if he publicly recognises the Greek constitution, which abolished the monarchy in 1973.

'With the abolition of the monarchy, the property of the ex-king automatically returned to the state because he never had legal titles', a Socialist deputy, Yannis Papaspyrou, told parliament.