Golden Dawn party given go-ahead to contest elections

EU elections expected to see rise in support for fringe parties

Far-right Golden Dawn lawmaker Giorgos Germenis (right), who is in custody pending trial, gestures during his speech before a vote in the Greek parliament. Photograph: Reuters

Far-right Golden Dawn lawmaker Giorgos Germenis (right), who is in custody pending trial, gestures during his speech before a vote in the Greek parliament. Photograph: Reuters

 

Greek far-right party, Golden Dawn, has been permitted to contest next week’s European elections in a closely-watched ruling by the country’s Supreme Court.

The Athens court named the party, which has been branded a criminal organisation by the Government, as one of 43 political parties approved to run in the elections.

Six of Golden Dawn’s 18 MP’s were arrested last year following a police crackdown, following the murder of a left-wing rap artist Pavlos Fissas.

A Golden Dawn supporter has been charged with his murder.

The party’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, remains in jail.

Golden Dawn was founded in 1980 but saw its popularity soar following Greece’s economic collapse which prompted the country to seek two IMF-EU bailouts.

The party, which actively campaigns on an anti-immigration and racist platform, holds 18 seats in Parliament.

Opinion polls put the party’s support at around 11 per cent, and it is expected to win at least two seats in the European Parliament.

In January, British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, campaigned alongside Golden Dawn in Greece and pledged to work with the party should it win seats in the European elections.

This month’s European elections are expected to deliver a strong result for anti-establishment parties across the European Union, with parties of the far-right and far-left polling strongly in countries such as France, Denmark, Britain and Austria.

The latest poll by polling agency VoteWatch estimates that the centre-right political grouping, the European People’s Party (EPP) will win 216 of the 751 seats available, with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) close behind on 205 seats.

An alliance of at least seven parties are expected to form a new group in the European Parliament led by French anti-EU party, National Front, and the Dutch Freedom Party, according to Vote Watch.