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Greek neo-Nazi party allowed to participate in EU elections

Published time: May 12, 2014 10:20
Edited time: May 12, 2014 10:50
Member of the far right Golden Dawn party hold flags as they take part in a rally in Athens on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Member of the far right Golden Dawn party hold flags as they take part in a rally in Athens on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Louisa Gouliamaki)

Greece's Supreme Court has cleared the Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections, according to a party lawyer. The move came despite the criminal trial into the party’s activities.

The lawyer said that the Greek judiciary body’s move wasn’t a surprise at all for the Golden Dawn.

"We expected this decision. We have faith in Greek justice," lawyer Pavlos Sarakis told AFP.

Under Greek law, candidates are only banned from the elections if they were previously convicted of a crime, not if they are currently under investigation.

Almost all of the party’s 18 lawmakers are charged with serious crimes allegedly committed by the party over the last couple of years.

The claims leveled against the party include attacks on its political opponents and murders of a Pakistani migrant and a left-wing Greek rapper. Plus, Nazi and fascist memorabilia were found in the party’s deputy leader earlier this year.

Despite the investigation, the Golden Dawn says it’s being persecuted because the current conservative-led coalition government and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras fear their impact on political life in the country.

Samaras, in his turn, said that he would better off battling the party ideologically than prohibiting it, so he wouldn’t interfere with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Golden Dawn also created a sister party called Hellenic Dawn to counter a possible ban in the elections.

The parliamentary elections are due on May 18 and 25

Golden Dawn has risen into power since the economic crisis hit Greece, taking about 7 percent in the 2012 Greek parliamentary election. The party currently polls at around 8 percent, while the mainstream parties show 18-20 percent of votes.