Strong showing for Golden Dawn in Greek local elections

Ben Sales

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party received strong support in Greek local elections, despite a harsh government crackdown on the party.

Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris received more than 16 percent of Sunday’s vote in the race for mayor of Athens, while the party’s candidate for governor of the Attica region got more than 11 percent.

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In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, their candidate received almost 8 percent, according to election results released Monday.

While none of the Golden Dawn candidates made it through to the second round of voting to be held next Sunday, when elections to the European Parliament will also be held, the strong showing by the neo-Nazi party prompted concern from the government.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said he was unsure why the party still had so much support after most of its leaders had been charged with belonging to a criminal organization.

He said the government would do more in the runup to the European Parliament elections to emphasize the dangers posed to Greece by Golden Dawn, according to the Kathimerini daily newspaper.

The government has led a crackdown on the party, arresting several leaders and stripping the country’s 18 Golden Dawn parliament members of their parliamentary immunity. They have been charged with belonging to a criminal organization.

The crackdown on Golden Dawn followed widespread outrage and protests in Greece in the wake of the Sept. 18 killing of anti-fascist rapper Killah P by a suspected Golden Dawn member.

Golden Dawn has been accused of being behind dozens of attacks on immigrants in Greece. The party is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership.

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