Support for Golden Dawn has fallen to pre-election levels according a new poll, which also suggests that about a fifth of Greeks do not have a dim view of the neofascist party despite the recent arrest of its leadership.
On a trip to the USA this week, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said his government was in the process of “completely eradicating” Golden Dawn. Events in Athens over the past few days suggest that this will not happen quickly, if it happens at all.
Addressing the nation in the wake of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas's murder by a Golden Dawn member in September, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras issued a message to citizens and political opponents: “This is not the time for internal disputes or tension,” he said. However, there are growing doubts about whether his own party, New Democracy, is heeding this advice.
Greece’s coalitions has decided against calling snap elections in the wake of Golden Dawn arrests over the weekend but it remains to be see whether it will be possible to avoid going to the polls altogether.
The arrest of Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, a handful of his MPs and several party members on Saturday was a surprise on many levels and has left a number of key political issues open.
The government’s clampdown on Golden Dawn after the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas by one of its supporters has prompted speculation that the neofascist party might try to get even with the mainstream parties. It has been suggested that this could lead the party’s 18 MPs to resign en masse, creating confusion in Parliament and possibly trigger national elections.
An unusual announcement by a little known army reservists’ group calling for the government to resign prompted an emergency late night meeting of top ministry and judicial officials on Wednesday. There was surprise that the government gave such attention to the statement, which amounted to a demand for the democratic process to be halted
Two more opinion polls published this week have shown a drop in support for Golden Dawn, with New Democracy appearing to be the party that has profited most.
The consequences of last week’s murder of an anti-fascist rapper by a Golden Dawn supporter gathered pace on Monday when two of Greece’s most senior police officers resigned and another eight high-ranking members of the force were transferred from their positions.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was probably expecting the latest troika review of Greece’s adjustment program to be his biggest worry at this time of year. Instead, the murder of an anti-fascist rapper by a Golden Dawn member means that his immediate concern is to confront the rise of the far right.