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The tenant of the extreme right in the Greek Parliament

03 November 2010 / 16:11:54  GRReporter
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Journalist, newspaper and television station owner, right - according to some commentators extreme right - politician and leader of a party that he himself has found. Who is actually George Karatzaferis, one of the most colourful players on the Greek political scene for almost 20 years?

He was first elected as New Democracy candidate in 1993. He was elected two more times with the same party - in 1996 and 2000 and during the three mandates he was chairman and member of several parliamentary committees. In May 2000, however, in an interview with the Sunday edition of an Athens central newspaper he spoke strongly about the then New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos and defined him being Salome for considering him responsible for several senior party functionaries ‘beheading’.

He stated in addition that the then party leader Costas Karamanlis and the political analyst and expert on communications policy Yannis Lulis were directly responsible for the electoral loss of PASOK by a narrow margin. Two days later G. Karatzaferis was written off by New Democracy and after some time he announced his plans to found own party that he carried out in September the same year. The name of the political formation is Laikos Orthodoxos Synagermos (LAOS), i.e. Popular Orthodox Rally. White cross with a laurel wreath on red background was preferred for the symbol of the party. When announcing the party's platform, Karatzaferis said it will fully support the Church.

The LAOS party is moving in the extreme right of the political spectrum range. They requested from the party during the riot in December 2008 to ban demonstrations and public rallies, concealment of facial features during similar events to be declared criminal and state of emergency to be declared in the country. George Karatzaferis provoked sharp public and political reactions when in 2007 called for amnesty for collaborators of the military junta forces.

The party argued that Turkey does belong neither geographically nor culturally to Europe and therefore can not join the European Union. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can not be member of the European Union either for the dispute on the name of ‘Macedonia’. The position of LAOS concerning the limitation in the number of illegal immigrants to be allowed in Greece led many times to disputes with representatives of the left parties. Politicians from other political parties such as New Democracy and even PASOK belong to the party. In 2005 LAOS united with the Greek Front the leader of which – Makis Voridis – is extreme right politician with ideas shared by many other members and functionaries.

The party of George Karatzaferis was not taken very seriously by the other political parties at first and although it failed to enter the Parliament in March 2004 his leader was elected MEP three months later. LAOS party succeeded to win 10 seats in the general elections in 2007, then two MEPs were elected in the following Euro-elections and it has 15 deputies in the Greek Parliament after the last year's parliamentary elections.

The LAOS party supported the government in its decision to sign the Memorandum of financial support with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank. This led to a dispute with New Democracy, which voted against the Memorandum and even managed to put it in the center of the local elections campaign, the first round of which will be held this Sunday.

The Prime Minister George Papandreou tried to shift the dilemma and said that if PASOK looses the local elections it is very likely extraordinary parliamentary elections to be held. Thus he sparked a wave of sharp reactions from the opposition. George Karatzaferis also announced that he is against extraordinary general elections and stressed that such a decision is not serious, but rather crazy. He also added that the Prime Minister is actually bluffing with this dilemma and that if there are elections indeed, PASOK will lose. This position put Karatzaferis very close to the New Democracy leader, Antonis Samaras, and welcomed his decision New Democracy to participate in a future coalition government.

Regarding foreign policy, George Karatzaferis believes that there are other countries that could help Greece in this difficult economic time beside the EU. “After the meetings with the ambassadors of Russia and Iran I realized that we could find support in the Middle East and Russia. The question is whether we are ready to abandon the ineffective principle that we are only part of the West. I think we are part of there where the interest of Greece is,” said in a television interview the leader of LAOS.

On the parcel bombs attacks George Karatzaferis said: "Undoubtedly, some are trying to disrupt and break the orientation and the coordinated efforts of our country. Attention, attention, attention", but he did not specify who is behind these plans according to him.

Tags: George KaratzaferisLAOSExtreme rightLocal electionsPolitics
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