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The decline of Golden Dawn reported by polls may be temporary

27 September 2013 / 18:09:19  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

A day after Nikos Michaloliakos’ statement that Golden Dawn is ready to do everything to protect itself the public space in Greece is buzzing with scenarios and assumptions as to what would happen if all members of the extremist party resigned. Many commentators believe that this is a desperate attempt to blackmail the political system but also to shift the attention of the public from the findings regarding its criminal activities. The rumours that the Golden Dawners intend to resign appeared two days ago. They were confirmed, albeit indirectly, on Thursday when it became clear that the prosecutor of the Supreme Court had already collected enough evidence for the involvement of at least three deputies of Golden Dawn in criminal acts.

In this case, according to the Greek legislation, another round of elections will have to be carried out in the 15 constituencies where Golden Dawn was able to appoint deputies during the elections in June 2012. Analysts state that, in practice, such a development would mean the party’s "political suicide".

Article 104 of the Election Law stipulates that the first candidate from the party which had received the majority of the valid ballots who is preferred by the voters should occupy the vacant seat in a constituency. In practice, this means that even if the same number of voters as during the last elections prefers the Golden Dawners, they will have no chance of returning to parliament.

Another possible scenario is that only the deputies who will face charges of involvement in criminal activities will resign. According to analysts, Golden Dawn will thus attempt to present itself to the electorate as a legitimate political party that respects the laws and operates within the established constitutional order. They put within that context that part of Nikos Michaloliakos’ statement in which he said: "We will exhaust every opportunity to protect our political honour within the legitimate and constitutionally guaranteed rights."

At the same time, a second round of elections in the 15 largest constituencies in Greece opens up the possibility of announcing early elections.

"Regardless of what Golden Dawn will do I think the law should be amended so that it does not allow any party to threaten to destabilize the country because this is in its interest," a leading political analyst in Athens told GRReporter.

At the same time he is reserved regarding the polls conducted in the days after the murder of rap singer Pavlos Fyssas and as concerns the wave of revelations about the criminal activities of Golden Dawn. As shown by poll results, the party has lost 2.5 to 4% of the support of Greek voters. "I think that, at the moment, we cannot unreservedly rely on the sincerity of Golden Dawn’s voters many of whom may not recognize their sympathy for the party or that they would support it in the event of new elections because of the pressure of the negative findings and fuss about it." The analyst points out that, in the past, sociologists happened to report a significant decrease in the support for a party but the election results disproved those findings.

"We have to be careful when analyzing the results of these polls and should not forget that the economic crisis, which is one of the reasons for the rise of Golden Dawn, is still present," he said.


Tags: PoliticsResignationGolden DawnDeputiesSecond round of electionsPolls
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