Greek far-right party expelled from EU parliamentary elections

A small far-right party that unexpectedly entered Greece’s parliament last year is set to enter the European Parliament this summer after Greece’s Supreme Court ruled that it was essentially the reincarnation of the banned neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. Candidates will no longer be allowed to stand.

In a decision on political parties that can stand in the European Parliament elections, handed down on Wednesday, the court ruled that the party Spartans had “organized their own party as a front for the new political party of Ilias Kassidiaris, a former spokesperson for the Golden Dawn”. It was certified as “provided.” He is currently in prison.

The court said Kassidiaris was the true leader of the Spartans, a “deputy” of the Golden Dawn, and acted as a front that could circumvent eligibility restrictions.

The decision comes weeks after Greek Supreme Court prosecutors indicted several Spartan lawmakers on election fraud charges, and was expected from another court that could cost the party a seat in Greece’s parliament. It was announced before the judgment was issued.

The decision comes as mainstream political parties in the 27 countries that make up the European Union grow increasingly concerned about the apparent growth of far-right movements, with some looking to the success of the Golden Dawn a decade ago for inspiration. There were also political parties.

More than 700 members of the next European Parliament will be elected in EU-wide elections scheduled to take place from June 6 to 9. The agency’s influence has grown in recent years as it blocks legislation and emerged as a forum for high-profile debate.

EU elections tend to be a kind of populist barometer of the mood of millions of Europeans and how they feel about their leaders. The latest polls show that mainstream conservatives will control the new House of Commons, followed by mainstream social democrats and liberals.

But the poll also points to the growing strength of far-right and far-right parties. These parties represent ideological coalitions that are xenophobic and anti-immigrant at their core, and sometimes express anti-European views in support of strong national governments.

Greece’s Supreme Court said in a ruling Wednesday that Spartan “aims to undermine and disrupt democratic political institutions, particularly through the use of violence and incitement to violence.” It also encompasses totalitarian ideology, bigotry, xenophobia and crimes against humanity, the court said.

Vasilis Stingas, the nominal leader of the Spartans, denied the decision, noting that it was not based on a trial. “Because the Supreme Court said it, is it the word of God?” he said. “As long as there is a trial with evidence and witnesses, I will accept any decision of the judiciary without complaint. I do not respect this decision.”

Kassidiaris and other Golden Dawn leaders were found guilty in October 2020 of running a criminal organization that attacked left-wing critics and immigrants, drawing attention to Greece’s 2012 economic crisis amid the economic crisis. The party, which had gathered a large number of people, was disbanded.

Since then, Kassidiaris, who is serving a 13-and-a-half year prison sentence, has been campaigning from his cell as he aims to return to Greek politics. Last year, the Greek government moved to block the Greek National Party, founded by Kassidiaris, from parliament by passing a law banning participation in parliamentary parties whose leaders have been convicted of serious crimes..

A few months later, Mr. Cassidiaris publicly supported the then-unknown Spartan Party, which won 12 seats in the 300-member Congress and paved the way for a two-pronged legal battle.

A special tribunal is scheduled to rule on claims by citizens that the Spartans committed electoral fraud before the European Parliament elections. If the Spartans lose, the seat would likely be redistributed to another party or a new election would be held in the district where the Spartans hold the seat.

Separately, Supreme Court prosecutors this month indicted 11 of the 12 members of Congress elected under the Spartan banner, along with Kasidiaris. Five of these members are no longer affiliated with any political party and the case has not been brought to trial.

Mr. Stingas has not been indicted, but the Supreme Court suggested in Wednesday’s ruling that he was merely a figurehead. “The truth is that they were chosen by Elias Kassidiaris, not Vasilis Stingus,” the court said Wednesday.

Nikos Alivisatos, a prominent constitutional law expert who was grabbed by the chest and verbally assaulted by members and supporters of the Golden Dawn in 2010, said while the court’s reasoning seems sound, the law He also expressed concern about how it might be interpreted in the future.

“It’s another thing to ban someone who has been convicted of a crime from running,” he said. “It’s quite another thing to expel his friends and supporters.”

Matina Stevis-Gridnev Contributed to the report from Brussels.

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