A controversial move in Greece to ban second-generation migrants from voting will help the far-right in European elections, it’s been claimed.
Roman Gerodimos, an expert on Greek politics at Bournemouth University, says the ‘disenfranchising’ of demographic groups will help Golden Dawn.
Greece’s parliament this year amended a law preventing non-EU citizens from voting or taking part in European elections.
This, says Alda Shashati, of the European Network Against Racism, is on top of the children of immigrants not being able to vote.
Polls suggest Golden Dawn, which accrued 7 per cent of the vote in 2012 elections, is expected to do well in European elections later in May.
Gerodimos told euronews: “It’s true that migrants make up a large part of the population in urban communities such as central Athens, where the Golden Dawn’s social and electoral penetration has been particularly acute.
“Therefore, the fact that these demographic groups will not be voting certainly disenfranchises them and, indirectly, favours the Golden Dawn.”
Shashati said the far-right are offering ‘easy solutions to the crisis’ such as ‘leaving the EU and kicking out migrants’.
A report by the Racist Violence Recording Network said there were 166 incidents of racist violence in Greece, with at least 320 victims.
Shashati added: “In this tense and violent situation, the government, instead of protecting the rights of its citizens and residents, has refused to grant the right to vote to so-called third country nationals (non-EU citizens) who reside in Greece, even if they were born and raised in Greece.
“This policy could have a major impact on Golden Dawn’s success in the European elections.
“Thousands of people living in Greece since birth, and who are the direct targets of Golden Dawn’s racist narrative, are being denied the opportunity to make their voice heard and to use their vote and their right to political participation to fight xenophobia and racism in Europe.
“Their vote could have contributed to reducing the representation of the hard right in the next European Parliament.”
Gerodimos said Golden Dawn is facing a crisis with the organisation branded a criminal organisation and many of its MPs and key officers in jail. He added if their share at the European elections drops below 4 per cent, it could spark internal conflicts.
“We should bear in mind that other far right ethno-nationalist organisations are starting to mobilise, recruiting some of GD’s old supporters.
“That means that even if support for the GD itself collapses, the fundamental problem of far-right extremism will not have necessarily disappeared.
“However, for many people, voting for GD is a form of protest, not an act of positive identification with them, but a negative act of rejecting the established political players.
“That explains why, even though senior GD politicians have been involved in questionable activities, support for the party has not collapsed entirely.”