Greece Votes to Cut State Funding To Far-Right Golden Dawn Party

Called 'Neo-Nazi Criminal Gang' by Government

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published October 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

Greek lawmakers voted to cut off state funding to the far-right Golden Dawn party early on Wednesday, the latest effort by the government to clamp down on a party it has branded a “neo-Nazi criminal gang”.

Golden Dawn had steadily risen on the back of an anti-austerity and anti-immigrant agenda to become Greece’s third-most popular party, until the killing of a left-wing rapper by a party supporter last month triggered the government crackdown.

A legislative provision passed by 235 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament suspends state funding to political parties if their leaders, or a tenth of their lawmakers, are charged with involvement in a “criminal organisation” or “acts of terrorism”. The move could deprive Golden Dawn of a major financial resource.

Athens has earmarked 11 million euros for elected parties in 2013, including 873,000 euros ($1.20 million) for Golden Dawn.

After entering parliament last year and appearing virtually immune to frequent accusations of violence against immigrants and leftists, the party has been on the defensive since the fatal stabbing of 34-year-old Pavlos Fissas.

The killing prompted prosecutors to investigate party lawmakers over a series of crimes and Prime Minister Antonis caused Samaras’s conservative-led government to probe the police force. Samaras has vowed to wipe out the party and described it as a “gang of neo-Nazis” that threatens democracy.

Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, and two senior lawmakers have been put behind bars pending trial on charges of participation in a criminal group. This is the first time that elected politicians have been jailed in Greece since a military coup in 1967. Three other lawmakers, who were arrested, have been freed pending trial. They were ordered to stay in the country.

Parliament has stripped four more MPs of their immunity to allow a deeper investigation into accusations against them.

If convicted, Golden Dawn lawmakers face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. If they are acquitted, the party will receive the state funds it is owed.

Golden Dawn, with a red-and-black swastika-like emblem, has tapped into Greeks’ anger at the political class and won support with promises like ridding Greece of immigrants and sealing its borders with landmines.

But since Fissas’s killing, the party’s support has fallen by about a third.

The party rejects accusations of violence and the neo-Nazi label. All six lawmakers who have been charged deny the allegations against them, saying they are being persecuted because of their nationalist beliefs.

Golden Dawn abstained from the vote and said the funding cut-off would only disrupt its community initiatives, such as “for-Greeks-only” food handouts and blood donations.

“This provision is unconstitutional and illegal,” Golden Dawn lawmaker Ilias Kasidiaris said during the debate.

In turn, Golden Dawn last month filed a lawsuit over state funds the co-ruling Socialist PASOK party received in 2007-2010.

Members of parliament do not lose their political rights or seats unless there is a final court ruling against them. ($1 = 0.7260 euros)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.