Greek far right Golden Dawn approved for EU election

  • 12 May 2014
  • From the section Europe
Greek Golden Dawn protesters (1 Feb)
Image caption The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn is hostile to immigrants

The Greek Supreme Court has given the go-ahead for the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party to run in elections to the European Parliament this month.

Golden Dawn is currently under criminal investigation. Six of its MPs, including its leader, are in prison awaiting trial on charges involving murder, arson and extortion.

The party entered parliament for the first time in 2012, amid public alarm over immigration and the jobs crisis.

Many describe the party as "neo-Nazi".

Golden Dawn has an emblem resembling the Nazi swastika and members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes.

The party insists that it does not embrace Nazi ideology.

The Greek government has resisted calls to ban Golden Dawn, arguing the case for democracy in a country previously plagued by authoritarian rulers, including a seven-year military dictatorship.

Opinion polls currently put Golden Dawn below the ruling conservative New Democracy and the left-wing Syriza alliance, which appear to be neck-and-neck ahead of the 25 May election.

Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos is one of six party MPs in jail pending trial. Their arrests followed the killing of an anti-fascist musician.

And two men suspected of links with Golden Dawn have been jailed for life in Greece over the fatal stabbing of a Pakistani immigrant last year.

None of the party's 18 MPs is on the election list. Its candidates include two retired senior army officers, AFP news agency reports.

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