Neo-fascist party Golden Dawn is set to enter the Greek Parliament. Exit polls in Sunday’s election show the extreme-nationalist organization has won about seven per cent of the vote – well above the required three-per-cent threshold.
This is the first time in nearly 40 years that a far-right party is projected to enter Greece’s parliament.
“A new nationalist movement dawns. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have dynamically joined the national cause for a great, free Greece,” Golden Dawn said on its website.
The party’s success is fueled by rising anti-immigrant sentiment amid the deteriorating economic situation that has led to sharp recession and large-scale unemployment.
Economic analyst and international lawyer Nick Skrekas believes that Greeks want to punish their governing parties for not paying attention to the people’s wants and needs.
“This particular group has been sharp enough to understand that with vigilantes on the streets protecting parks, turning away prostitutes and drug-runners, they’ll win quite a large slice of popular support,” he told RT. “In Greece, the governments have not dealt with the issue of illegal immigration very well… and we’ve got ghettos springing up in many areas of Athens.”
Skrekas believes that anger was a characteristic of the present election, and people simply wanted to punish the two large parties. However, he warned Greeks should stay away from the Golden Dawn’s ideals.
“Greece lost 10 per cent of its population under the Nazi boot in WWII. We also have close to 10 million diaspora Greeks overseas. So xenophobia and racism are something we should stay far away from,” he concluded.
The country’s two long-term ruling parties have lost support to anti-austerity parties in this latest election. According to early results, the leading center-right party New Democracy finished with 19 per cent of the votes and 109 seats – down from 33.5 per cent in 2009. The center-left party PASOK received 13.3 per cent – down from 43.9 per cent.