Papadopoulos’ presidency did not last long. A student protest in November gave a hard-line member of the junta, Dimitrios Ioannidis, the opportunity to depose Papadopoulos. The counter-coup resulted in a loss of support for the regime from military officers, as did Ioannidis decisions to support a coup in Cyprus, which resulted in a Turkish invasion of the island in July 1974. Before the end of that month, a meeting of politicians and military officers established a national unity government to run Greece until elections could be held.
The elections, held in November, resulted in a win for the New Democracy party, confirming Konstantinos Karamanlis as Prime Minister. Karamanlis called for a referendum to decide whether Greece should be a republic or a monarchy. Even though he had been a supporter of royal authority in the past, Karamanlis made no attempt to persuade the people to vote for a monarchy.
On 8th December 1974, over four and a half million Greeks voted in the referendum, the majority of whom (69.18%) decided that Greece should be a republic. The result was met with massive celebrations and led to the creation of the Third Hellenic Republic. The former king would remain in exile until the government allowed him to make a short visit in 1981, to attend the funeral of his mother.