Party could be over for Golden Dawn

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Golden Dawn party candidates will be excluded from the electoral campaign debate between political party leaders which will be televised live 1 July, according to an announcement made by the Interparty Committee on General Elections on Tuesday.

Caretaker Interior Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, who chairs the committee expressed the unanimous request of all other political parties of not including far-right Golden Dawn party in the debate.

The date falls on the last Monday before general elections on Sunday July 7. The debate will include all sectors of public life.

The announcement comes as Golden Dawn party members are called to testify from Thursday over a series of cases, following the last witness testimony provided to the court on Tuesday.

Golden party members facing court include MPs and the leader of the party, whose deputies were members of the recently dissolved session of parliament.

Several case files are being examined by the courts under the general charge of the party's operation as a criminal syndicate, including the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas, 34, in 2013; a ruthless attack against fishermen of Egyptian origin in 2012; and an attack to Communist Party-affiliated PAME labor union in 2013, among others.

The court case opened four years ago and includes a total of 68 defendants. Of these, 65 are facing charges of acquiring membership to and leading a criminal organization. Eighteen (18) of the 65 are either current or past Golden Dawn MPs.

Fyssas' murder will be the first case the defendants will testify on.  
The leading party members are not expected to be called to testify before September, according to the order of proceedings.

So far, the case has involved 362 court sessions, and testimony has been completed for all plaintiffs (147) and 70 of nearly 230 defending witnesses proposed the accused. Current and former MPs for Golden Dawn provided parliamentary documents on their work and speeches that took 58 sessions to be read in total.

According to current estimates, a court ruling is expected by the end of 2019 or the start of 2020.