Greece: Golden Dawn Only Party to Increase Its Vote
Supporters of the “national social state” now exceed 500,000; party is nation’s third largest and growing — despite media blackout and legal persecution
GOLDEN DAWN has emerged as one of the biggest winners of Sunday’s general election in Greece, consolidating its presence in parliament and power on the streets.
The neo-fascist group came in third with 7% of the vote, behind the leftwing Syriza and conservative New Democracy. The result was met with abhorrence and dismay. In April most of its leaders were put on trial on charges of running a criminal organisation masquerading as a political force. The party – which has denied the charges – stands accused of murder, armed attacks, money laundering and trafficking.
“Golden Dawn is a movement of power, it is not a protest movement any more,” the party’s spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, told Star TV as it became clear that the radicals had retained their position as the country’s third biggest political force. “Golden Dawn is the only party seeing an increase in its percentage. In October when Greeks begin to experience the consequences of the memorandum and illegal immigration you will see our support increase radically,” said the former marine, berating the country’s mainstream media for boycotting the party.
With 18 MPs in the 300-seat house, around 500,000 Greeks cast ballots in favour of Golden Dawn. The organisation performed especially well in Attica, the greater Athens region and the Aegean islands of Lesbos and Kos where voter support doubled. Both islands have been overwhelmed in recent months by thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty.
Golden Dawn’s anti-immigrant stance at a time of mounting fears over Greece’s frontline role in Europe’s biggest humanitarian crisis in recent history, almost certainly helped. The party, portraying itself as the “only nationalist choice” played heavily on fears that Greeks could soon become a minority in their own country. But, so too, did its opposition to the internationally sponsored bailout accords, or memoranda, that the party has said amount to “ethnocide” or death of the nation. Polls showed that 16.6% of those who voted for Golden Dawn were victims of record levels of unemployment – the most grievous side-effect of massive budget cuts and lay-offs enforced as the price of being bailed out to the tune of €326bn by creditors from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“In terms of absolute numbers Golden Dawn was the only party to hold its ground,” said Aristides Hatzis, political commentator and Athens University professor. “It was not at all affected by the very high rate of [electoral] abstention. Its performance is a danger and disgrace for our democracy.”
The party won 6.8% of the vote in the election in January despite most of its leadership being behind bars.
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Source: The Guardian