April 14. 2024. 6:17

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Greek neo-Nazis seek ‘loopholes’ to run in elections

Far-right “National Party – Greeks” founded by jailed Elias Kasidiaris, a key figure of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, is trying to find ways to bypass a law banning criminal organisations from running in the elections. According to polls, the case lies in the hands of Greek justice, while the party seems likely to enter parliament.

In February, the Greek parliament passed legislation banning criminal organisations from running in the national elections.

In the spotlight was Golden Dawn, whose key leaders were imprisoned some years ago after a court branded the party as a criminal organisation with charges of violence, criminal activities and misconduct.

However, Kasidiaris, convicted in the first instance, continued spreading nationalistic propaganda from his cell.

Although imprisoned, Kasidiaris maintains his right to be elected as a party member but not as party leader.

He, therefore, handed over the chair of the party earlier this month to former deputy prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos.

But Greek law also provides the possibility of frontline another person who is not convicted but clearly represents criminal organisation members.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the party leader has hidden connections with criminal organisations.

Misleading the justice

“Both retired and active justice members should think about this very carefully […] because there is a problem of the prestige and dignity of justice”, Venizelos said.

According to him, the far-right party with the leadership shift obviously constitutes “perjury of justice”, but the fact that Kasidiaris will also be a candidate in this party, “it is not very easy to be misled”.

“Do I look like a straw man?”, Kanellopoulos said after he was elected unanimously as president of the far-right party.

“It is not possible to bypass the presumption of innocence of Kasidiaris. The European directive has supra-constitutional force and will constitute a ‘diversion’ to challenge to it,” Kanellopoulos added.

His three brothers, though, in a statement, kept their distance from Kanellopoulos’ decision to lead the party.

“Our democratic beliefs […] have nothing to do with our brother’s recent political initiatives and choices”, they said in a joint statement.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)