The extreme-right’s phenomenal success in Greece’s elections has triggered alarm beyond the country’s borders and raised concerns at home.
An obscure fringe group barely a year ago, the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party has won 21 seats. It will be the first time such a party has entered parliament since the military dictatorship fell in 1974.
“It’s a disgrace,” said voter Eleni Anastasiou, 50, in Athens. “They have influenced young people who have no idea what a junta in this country means.”
Golden Dawn has pledged to rid Greece of illegal immigrants. However its voters don’t necessarily agree, according to analyst George Tzogopoulos, of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.
“The rise of the far-right is indeed a problem in Greece,” Tzogopoulos said. “Many people have linked this rise with the problem of immigration. This analysis is a simplistic one. The problem is much wider and it reflects the anger of Greek citizens with traditional politicians and it does not necessarily follow that they endorse the principles of this Golden Dawn far-right party.”
Golden Dawn, whose logo resembles the swastika, denies it is a neo-Nazi party.