Neo-Nazi party has election breakthrough in Greece, leader warns ‘time for fear
Fed-up Greek voters took to the polls Sunday to deliver a devastating blow to the political establishment and made hard turns to both the far-left and the far-right, with both a Communist Party and a Neo-Nazi party winning a significant number of seats.
Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn won its first seats in the Greek parliament since the end of the military junta in 1974, winning 21 out of 300 seats.
The party’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, warned rivals and reformers that “the time for fear has come” after his breakthrough.
“The time for fear has come for those who betrayed this homeland,” he said at a news conference, flanked by young men with shaved heads.
“We are coming.”
Golden Dawn won about 7% of the popular vote.
In the 2009 election, the adamantly anti-immigrant party scored a mere 0.29% of the popular vote.
Michaloliakos has said Greece can survive without the EU-IMF bailout, although their support is not being courted by the party seeking to form the government.
Greece’s Communist party also improved its standing, winning 8.4% of the popular vote for 26 seats. It had won 21 seats in the 2009 vote.
Sunday’s vote was a serious repudiation of the government’s austerity measures and has thrown the bailout plan into disarray.
Greek conservative leader Antonis Samaras’s party, New Democracy, won the largest portion of the vote, but not enough to form a majority.
The pro-austerity party took 18.85% of the vote for 108 seats, and has three days to find support to form a government.
The second party, the left-wing Syriza, is against the EU-IMF plan.
The socialist Pasok, who support the bailout, fell to third place with 13%, for 41 seats.
Supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party raise flares as they celebrate polls results in Thessaloniki, northern Greece May 6, 2012.
Pasok and New Democracy won 77.4% of the vote in 2009 but only 31.1% this year.
Samaras has pledged to try to create a “national salvation government” to stay in the Eurozone but with easier bailout terms.
“In the effort to form a government of national salvation, we will talk to everyone except Golden Dawn,” a party official told AFP.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday it is of the “utmost importance” that Greece stick to the bailout plan.
She said Greece itself must find a coalition government to move forward with the plan.
With files from Agence France Presse