Greece’s extreme Right party Golden Dawn will be entering the European Parliament for the first time, according to exit polls that have the party winning between 9 and 10 per cent of the vote during elections on May 25th.
“Golden Dawn is the third political power in Greece, it’s the only party that shows such a steep rise,” said Ilias Kasidiaris, the Golden Dawn spokesman who sports a swastika tattoo on his arm, at party headquarters following the release of national exit polls.
Speaking next to the party flag – an ancient Greek symbol which has been associated to the Nazi swastika – he delivered a message from Nikos Michaloliakos, head of Golden Dawn and a member of Greece’s Parliament who is in jail pending a trial for the accusation that he is involved in a criminal gang.
The party denies these accusations. The government has led a crackdown on the party, arresting several leaders and stripping the country’s 18 Golden Dawn parliament members of their parliamentary immunity.
Card carrying members of the party were blamed for participating in hit squads patrolling the streets in black shirts to attack immigrants in the capital’s most rundown areas as well as racketeering and extortion. Several high profile members were found to have Nazi memorabilia in their homes.
The issue of Golden Dawn’s rise in Greek politics has ben covered extensively in international media, including an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times on May 22, 2014.