Greece's top court allows far-right party to contest EU vote

ATHENS Sun May 11, 2014 4:03pm EDT

Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos (C) talks to reporters at a news conference in Athens May 6, 2012. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Leader of extreme-right Golden Dawn party Nikolaos Mihaloliakos (C) talks to reporters at a news conference in Athens May 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's Supreme Court on Sunday allowed the far-right Golden Dawn party to run in European elections this month, despite calls to ban it as its leader waits in jail to be tried for membership of a criminal organization.

The court routinely permits parties to take part in elections but a private citizen had asked it to exclude Golden Dawn this time because its leadership is under investigation over a string of attacks against immigrants and opponents.

Golden Dawn is expected to perform well due to a wave of anger against economic austerity - the price Greeks have paid for bailouts totaling 240 billion euros ($330 billion) from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to save the country from a debt crisis.

The party is running between third and fifth in opinion polls, and a strong showing would pose a challenge to the fragile coalition government.

Golden Dawn was among a list of 43 parties formally allowed by the court to stand in the May 25 vote, which coincides with Greek municipal elections.

The party sports a swastika-like symbol and its members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes. Golden Dawn, which rejects the label neo-Nazi, entered parliament for the first time in 2012, tapping into resentment against illegal immigrants and mass unemployment. The jobless rate still stands at nearly 28 percent.

The investigation against Golden Dawn was triggered by the arrest in September of a party supporter who confessed to the fatal stabbing of an anti-fascist Greek musician.

Party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and five other lawmakers have been jailed awaiting trial so far. Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who is running for Athens mayor, is free on bail pending trial on charges of participating in a criminal group. All have denied any wrongdoing.

The government has resisted calls to ban Golden Dawn outright, which would require a constitutional amendment. Having lived through decades of authoritarian government after World War Two, including a seven-year military dictatorship, Greece now bars only convicted criminals from contesting elections. ($1 = 0.7269 Euros)

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Harry Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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Comments (4)
SmartThinking wrote:
Good news. A small victory. The Greek municipal election results, and the reaction thereto, will be most interesting.

It’s not just illegal immigrants that are raising Greeks’ ire. Legal immigrants who cannot assimilate and engage in crime are every bit as bad.

Same thing in the US. You’ll get “conservatives” who’ll say they hate illegal immigration, but love the legal kind. Meaning that a change in immigration regulations — by a government that they very likely did not vote for — will magically transform an undesirable who refuses to assimilate into a “lovable.” Idiotic.

May 11, 2014 5:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Leras wrote:
Whether some people like it or not (I don’t personally), Golden Dawn Party accumulates a large percent of voters, more than 10-12%, even after the arrests have been made (it used to be around 15%). Consider that the Greek Coalition Parties share a joint 24 -25% in “controlled” polls (20 Nea Dimocratia, 4% PASOK) so Golden Dawn support is to be considered quite huge!

If Greece is to return to “normallity” apart from such Parties, WHAT MUST HAPPEN IS FOR THE POLITICIANS TO STOP BE CORRUPTED! But this cannot happen within PASOK and Nea Dimocratia! Its the same exact people who brought Greece to this situation! You cant ask for a person to switch character at his 60s! Especially when he is supposed to go to jail! What is he supposed to do? Voluntarity give up and confess!

Europe really killed Greece, on the sake of keeping Euro safe! Victims are all Greeks and killers are themselves and the ex-Greek Politicians who still get to terrorize us and steal us provocatively, like everything is cool (29% unemployment and more than 30% actual deficit, if 20 billions to the banks are accounted) and they even declare a “success story”.

IN THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS, ALL EU CITIZENS SHOULD CONSIDER THIS. GREECE STORY Could occur elsewhere! Whether on purpose or by accident , current Goverments in Germany, France and ECB are literally assisting corruption and criminality, in FULL KNOWLEDGE!

May 12, 2014 4:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
I dont agree with you Smartthinking. However, you should be able to vote however you want! If you want far-right, its your call! Its just that the only way that the Current Coalition can get lost and probably pay for what happened in Greece is if Siriza comes to power, since GD is far from Getting a lead! And it would be a havoc in the Country if Siriza was rulling with GD as a 2nd party, main opposition! It would be like a civil war!

That would be great of course for ND-PASOK people and Europeans who would let us “kill” ourselves, while they would prepare a supposed “savior” suited to their terms!

So, basically I believe that we all should really prioritize and focus on the most important thing! To GET RID of the TRAITORS that currently govern the country!

May 12, 2014 11:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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