ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy government is reportedly trying to legally prevent a new party run by the imprisoned former spokesman for the disbanded neo-Nazi Golden Dawn from taking part in elections, but can’t get support from rivals.
It is called Ellines (Greeks) and is operated out of jail by Ilias Kasidiaris, who had been a firebrand for Golden Dawn and among its most defiant, that party’s leaders and dozens of members also convicted and imprisoned.
Tthe government is looking for a constitutional amendment to bar Ellines from taking part, said the left-leaning Avgi newspaper, but can’t get the support of its major rival and former ruling SYRIZA and MeRA25 or the KKE Communists.
“The amendment is impermissibly broad and allows wide margins of discretion to the judicial body that will judge that a party does not serve the free functioning of the democratic state to be able to run in the elections,” it said.
It wasn’t said why those convicted of a felony can set up a political party to seek representation in the 300-member Greek Parliament, which requires at least 3 percent of the vote.
SYRIZA said the amendment’s wording is too vague and shouldn’t be neutral, but directed explicitly at convicted neo-Nazis and leaves room for dangerous misinterpretations about extremists.
“The legislative proposal should be clear about neo-Nazis and not open a back door for expanded interpretations and equating Nazism with any other political ideology,” it warned.
The tiny MeRA25 party led by Yanis Varoufakis, a former finance chief for SYRIZA, also opposed the amendment, claiming it would make a hero of Kasidiaris and other neo-Nazis who would rally around him.
“The KKE is not going to accept regulations that proceed to dangerous generalizations, leaving room for the unacceptable theory of the two extremes that equates fascist with Communist ideology and movement,” it said.