Golden Dawn MP’s Want President Vote

ATHENS – Seven members of the ultra far-right Golden Dawn party, including its leader, who are in detention awaiting trial on charges of running a criminal gang want to vote in Parliament’s election of a Greek President.

A prosecutor will decide early this week if the extremist lawmakers being held at Korydallos Prison should be given the right to take part in the Dec. 17 vote in Parliament, which means they would have to be temporarily released.

Prosecutor Nikolas Poimenidis denied them a request to take part in the recent vote of confidence called by the government and so far they have been allowed out only to attend court cases and votes in Parliament for the lifting of their immunity.

A prosecutor in Nafplio, where former Golden Dawn MP Stathis Boukouras is being held, will decide whether the lawmaker, now an Independent, will be allowed to vote in the Presidential ballots.

Golden Dawn, which has 18 lawmakers in the 300-member Parliament, is opposed to Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and his imposing of austerity measures on orders of international lenders.

Samaras and his coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, need 200 votes in a first or second round to get Conservative Vice-President Stavros Dimas elected, or a third round, which requires 180 votes, would be held. If that fails, early national elections would be held early in 2015.

The government has 155 votes combined but so far eight Independents said they will back Samaras while the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) hopes to thwart Dimas’ election and force early national polls.