Dora Bakoyannis was born in Athens in 1954 and she is the daughter of the former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis and Marika Mitsotakis. She was educated at the German School of Paris. After studying Political Science and Communication at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, she continued her studies in Political Science and Public Law at the University of Athens. She speaks fluently English, French and German.
In 1974, she married the journalist Pavlos Bakoyannis with whom she had 2 children, Alexia and Kostas, from whom she has 7 grandchildren. On 26 September 1989, her husband Pavlos Bakoyannis, a member of the New Democracy Party, was assassinated by the terrorist organisation ’17 November’. Nine years later she married Isidoros Kouvelos.
In 1977, after a competition, she was recruited to the Ministry of Coordination and worked in the Directorate for Relations and Cooperation with the EEC.
In November 1989, she was elected for the first time as a Member of the Greek Parliament, winning the single-member constituency of Evritania, where she was re-elected in the two subsequent elections in April 1990 and October 1993.
In October 1990, she was sworn in to the government of the New Democracy, as Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister.
In December 1992, she took over the Ministry of Culture.
In the elections of 1996, 2000, 2007 and 2009, she received the most votes in the constituency of Athens A’, to be elected parliamentarian with New Democracy.
In October 2002, she became the first woman in the history of the city of Athens to be elected Mayor of Athens, with a 60.6% vote, the highest ever for a female mayor in the Municipality of Athens. She took on the task of preparing the city of Athens to host the 2004 Olympic Games.
In February 2006, she took over as Foreign Minister in the Karamanlis government, a position she held until October 2009. She was President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), in the framework of which she organised the ‘Corfu Summit’.
In November 2009, she contested the leadership of New Democracy. In May 2010, she was expelled from the party, following her decision to support the stability programme for the Greek economy.
In November 2010, she founded the Democratic Alliance party. In 2012, the party, supporting the country’s reform programme, collaborated with New Democracy, suspending its operation.
In the elections of 17 June 2012, Dora Bakoyannis was elected Head State Deputy of the New Democracy.
In October 2012, she became Head of the Greek delegation to the Council of Europe.
In December 2012, the Council of Europe entrusted her with the role of co-rapporteur in the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments (Monitoring) for the respect of human rights in Russia.
In October 2013, she was unanimously elected Vice-President of the European People’s Party in the Council of Europe.
In January 2014, she was unanimously elected Chair of the Council of Europe’s Political Affairs Committee on a proposal from the European People’s Party.
In the elections of 25 January 2015, she was elected as MP of the New Democracy in the constituency of Athens A’.
In the elections of 20 September 2015, she was re-elected as MP of the New Democracy in the constituency of Athens A’.
In January 2016, following the decision of the newly elected President of the New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, she was appointed as Coordinator of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the New Democracy.
In November 2016, following the decision of the President of the New Democracy Kyriakos Mitsotakis, she was appointed Shadow Minister of Economy and Development.
In the elections of July 7, 2019, she received the most votes in the constituency of Chania, to be elected MP of the New Democracy.
Since 2019, Dora Bakoyannis is President of the Greek delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly for Francophonie.
Since 2022, she is Head of the Greek delegation to the inter-parliamentary cooperation between Greece, USA, Israel and Cyprus (Figure 3+1).
In the elections of 25 June 2023, she received the most votes in the constituency of Chania, to be re-elected MP of the New Democracy.
In July 2023, she was elected Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Defence and Foreign Affairs.
In addition, she is Member of the Parliamentary Committees on European Affairs, on Armament Programs and Contracts and on state-owned enterprises, banks, public utility enterprises and social security agencies (DEKO).
Dora Bakoyannis is a liberal politician with a deep belief in the European Idea. She is known worldwide for her adamant stance against terrorism. Her positions have been repeatedly published in the international press and she has participated as a keynote speaker in dozens of conferences, academic fora and debates around the world.
In March 1992, Dora Bakoyannis was awarded the «International Leadership Award» by the International Women’s Centre.
In June 1993, she was awarded a distinction by the 14th International Symposium «Fontana di Roma» for her contribution to the field of Culture.
In 2003, at the invitation of the then President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, she participated with 12 other prominent European personalities in the “Round Table”, which put forward proposals on the social character, cultural identity and economic project of the new Europe.
Additionally, Dora Bakoyannis has been awarded with the following honours:
2003, Grand Commander of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus)
2004, Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (Poland)
2004, Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, Cavaliere di Gran Croce (Italy)
2005, Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (Hungary)
2005, “World Mayor” in the annual international competition organised by the «City Mayors» organisation among 550 Mayors from all over the world
2006, Grand Cross of the Order of Danebrog (Denmark)
2006, Grand Cross of the Jerusalem Patriarchate
2007, Grosses Goldenes Ehrenzeichen am Bande, Der Republik Österreich (Austria)
2008, Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix of the Hellenic Repubic (Greece)
2008, Honorary Senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg (Austria)
2008, Maximilian Award – European Award for Regional Policy and Local Government by the Province of Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck (Austria)
2009, Ordine Al Merito Della Repubblica Italiana, Cavaliere Di Gran Croce (Italy)
2009, elected as the First Female Foreign Associate of the French Academy in Humanities and Political Sciences (France)
2010, Order of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic by the French Embassy (France)
2013, Honorary Doctorate by the European Polytechnic University of Bulgaria for her contribution to the European course of Bulgaria and South-Eastern Europe (Bulgaria)
2013, OSCE Medal for her contribution to the NATO-Russia rapprochement at the Corfu Summit during the Greek Presidency in 2009 (Austria)
2013, «Venizelio» award, the highest award of the Pancretan Association of America, in New York (USA)