Gains for neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greek election

Marcy Oster

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party made slight gains in Greek elections, remaining the country’s third largest party.

In Sunday’s balloting, the fifth general election in the last six years and second since January, Golden Dawn received 6.9 percent of the vote, giving it 18 seats in the 300-member national parliament, with nearly all of the votes counted.

This was up from the 6.3 percent and 17 seats it received in January’s elections; however, analysts attributed the rise to the lower overall voter turnout in Sunday’s elections.

The far-left Syriza party under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won, with nearly 36 percent of the vote, but fell just short of an overall majority under the country’s reinforced proportional representation system. The center-right New Democracy Party finished second with 28.1 percent of the vote.

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Golden Dawn maintained its popularity despite most of the party’s leaders being jailed amid an ongoing crackdown on the party leadership on charges of heading a violent criminal organization.

The party, which frequently uses Nazi imagery, has been accused of being behind dozens of racist attacks on immigrants. Its leaders have denied the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers.

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