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!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • 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.