April 18. 2024. 1:48

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Greeks decide to block ‘criminal organisations’ from elections

The Greek parliament will discuss on Friday a key piece of legislation to ban criminal organisations from running in the upcoming national elections. The objective is to block a neo-Nazi party from running, but some legal loopholes may endanger the validity of the law.

Some years ago, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party caused shockwaves in Greek politics after it entered the parliament. Following violence, criminal activities and misconduct, a court branded the party as a criminal organisation, and its key leaders were imprisoned.

But jailed Elias Kasidiaris, a key figure of Golden Dawn, has established a new extreme-right party called “Greeks for the Fatherland” and has been spreading nationalistic propaganda from his cell.

The worrying element is that some polls suggest that his party may pass the 3% threshold and ultimately enter the parliament after the next elections due by summer.

To avoid such a scenario, the government has decided to put forward legislation making it impossible for individuals convicted of being part of a criminal organisation to participate in the elections.

The draft law also tries to address the possibility that Greek neo-Nazis will put on the frontline another person who is not convicted but clearly represents them.

In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether the party leader has any hidden connections with criminal organisations.

Analysts suggest that the wording of the law should be careful to avoid being rejected by courts, and the country ends up having the “neo-Nazi nightmare” again present in the Greek House.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)