February 2, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Investigation into the campaign of convicted party leader from prison

Greek authorities are investigating how ex-Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris was able to found a new political party and run a fairly successful election campaign from Domokos maximum security prison.

Despite communication restrictions, the convicted far-right party leader has 122,000 followers on YouTube, his main campaign tool, and another 35,000 on Twitter and other platforms. In 2013, he was banned from using Facebook. The Greek edition of Kathimerini sent a request to YouTube about why he was not banned there too.

Prison officials say no unauthorized devices were found on Kasidiaris; apparently, partners help to upload videos to YouTube. Interestingly, the convicted Kasidiaris has been communicating with his supporters through social networks for the last 2 years. He has a cousin of the same name, Ilias Kasidiaris, who understandably led his own political party, Hellenes.

Now the conservative New Democracy government is trying to push through a law that would bar parties founded by convicts from running for office. Legislation will provide for a ban on the participation in elections of parties headed by persons convicted of membership in a criminal organization, or their proteges.

The ND intends to ban the far-right from entering parliament. However, opposition parties are pushing for changes to the law so as not to open Pandora’s box in the future. Such legislation needs the votes of 3/5 out of 300 deputies in parliament, and this most likely will not happen. Since other parties understand that this may come back to haunt them in the future. Secondly, it contradicts the Greek Constitution (however, the ND has recently completely ignored this main document).

PS It is worth noting that many well-known politicians became deputies and later presidents. Of the most famous: Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Manuel Noriega, Josip Tito, Menachem Begin, Vladimir Yanukovych, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

PPS The more the ruling party tries to crush the movement in support of Kasidiaris, the more supporters he has. There are many reasons: massive distrust towards the main parties, the deteriorating situation in the country, contrary to official propaganda, the personal qualities of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Alexis Tsipras.

It is worth recalling that in the elections to the Greek parliament in January 2015, the Golden Dawn won 6.28% of the vote, receiving 17 seats in the Greek parliament, and in the repeated elections to the parliament in September 2015, the Golden Dawn scored 6, 99% of the vote, gaining 18 seats. Many analysts were sure that if it were not for the massive opposition of political opponents using the dirtiest methods, the party could have received at least 2-2.5 times more seats in parliament.

This situation greatly frightened both SYRIZA and ND, and on October 7, 2020, the Court of Appeal in Athens recognized the party as a criminal group. Nikos Michaloliakos and six other senior members of the Golden Dawn Party were found guilty of leading a 15-man organized crime group, conspiring to kill Pavlos Fissas (although the killer had not been a member of the party at the time of the crime), and sentenced to maximum terms of imprisonment (under this article) in high-security prisons.

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