Greece's Far-Right could use ‘loopholes’ to run in upcoming elections

greece far-right ilias Kasidiaris neo-nazi

Although Greece's infamous Golden Dawn were dismantled as a criminal organisation, remnants of the party exist elsewhere, such as the “National Party – Greeks”, founded by jailed Ilias Kasidiaris, a former key figure of the disbanded Far-Right party.

In February, the Greek parliament passed legislation banning criminal organisations from running in the national elections, but this has not stopped Kasidiaris from trying to find ways to bypass the law, especially as his party is likely to enter parliament.

Despite Kasidiaris being imprisoned, he maintains his right to be elected as a party member. However, he cannot be party leader, and therefore, handed over the chair of the party earlier this month to former deputy prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos.

But Greek law also provides the possibility of frontline another person who is not convicted but clearly represents criminal organisation members, as EURACTIV reports.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the party leader has hidden connections with criminal organisations.

Evangelos Venizelos, former president of Greek socialists (Pasok) and professor of Constitutional Law, told MEGA TV channel that current justice staff should contemplate “carefully” the fact that a former prosecutor decided to represent the far-right party.

“Both retired and active justice members should think about this very carefully […] because there is a problem of the prestige and dignity of justice”, Venizelos said.

According to him, the far-right party with the leadership shift obviously constitutes “perjury of justice”, but the fact that Kasidiaris will also be a candidate in this party, “it is not very easy to be misled”.

“Do I look like a straw man?”, Kanellopoulos said after he was elected unanimously as president of the far-right party.

“It is not possible to bypass the presumption of innocence of Kasidiaris. The European directive has supra-constitutional force and will constitute a ‘diversion’ to challenge to it,” Kanellopoulos added.

His three brothers, though, in a statement, kept their distance from Kanellopoulos’ decision to lead the party.

“Our democratic beliefs […] have nothing to do with our brother’s recent political initiatives and choices”, they said in a joint statement.

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