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Greek neo-Nazis win 20 seats, eight European countries now have extremists in parliament

Athens, Greece, 8.5.2012 21:27, (ROMEA)
Golden Dawn party chair Nikos Michaloliakos.

The Greek neo-Nazis who won almost 7 % of the vote in early parliamentary elections last weekend and who are now represented by 20 MPs have been boisterously celebrating their unheard-of success. The chair of their Golden Dawn organization, Nikos Michaloliakos, has said of their victory: "Veni, vidi, vici [I came, I saw, I conquered]."

"I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who voted for us," 55-year-old Michaloliakos said. He made no secret of his satisfaction over the fact that his party, which scored points with its anti-European, anti-immigrant rhetoric in a country beaten down by a deep economic and social crisis, far exceeded the results of the many other groups who criticized its extremism.

"The hour of fear for the traitors of the homeland has arrived," Michaloliakos thundered at the party's press conference. The online news server of the daily To Vima reported that he had several journalists ejected from the conference because they did not stand up when he entered the room. Agence-France Presse reported him as ominously saying, "This is just the beginning" to the foreign correspondents whom his movement has charged with spreading lies about his ideology.

However, Golden Dawn had already demonstrated prior to the elections that its critics were correct. "We want to expel all illegal immigrants. We want to get their stench out of here," party representative Frangiskos Porichis told dozens of adherents during a rally at Athen's port of Piraeus. He then promised that deportations would start immediately after the elections, should his party win, to be followed by the deportation even of those immigrants who have legalized their residency.

A selection of the European countries with right-wing extremists in parliament:

BULGARIA

In 2005, the extreme-right nationalist party Attack, which agitates against Jewish, Romani and Turkish people, declaims against Bulgaria's membership in the EU and NATO, and rages against international institutions "sucking Bulgaria dry", surprised everyone by scoring seats in parliament. The party's main slogan is "Bulgaria for the Bulgarians". The party earned electoral success in the most recent parliamentary elections in 2009 as well. It also drew attention last year when its adherents attacked Bulgarian Turkish Muslims during prayer in the capital, Sofia.

FINLAND

The Finnish party Real Finns is becoming more and more popular. The party first got into parliament in 1999 when it won a single seat. Last year it won 39. The party is classified as a nationalist, populist formation. It lobbies against the EU and the euro, declaims against the instruction of the Swedish language in the schools, and calls for stricter immigration policies and harsher punishments for serious felonies. Unlike similar parties, it does not have a neo-Nazi past to contend with.

HUNGARY

In the most recent parliamentary elections, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik) party got into parliament for the first time. The party is classified as an ultra-right movement. It declaims against immigrants and Romani people and has also made anti-Semitic declarations. It also wants to introduce a ban on "the promotion of sexual deviancy", which commentators say is aimed at homosexuals. The existence of the extremist National Guard in Hungary is linked to Jobbik. This court-banned paramilitary group has won favor for its fight against "gypsy crime", among other things.

NETHERLANDS

In the lower house, the Party for Freedom (PVV) is now represented and is leading a massive campaign against the "Islamization of the country", calling for restricting immigration and "defense of Judeo-Christian traditions". The founder of the party, Geert Wilders, left the liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in 2004, in part because he disagreed with its support for the entry of Turkey into the EU. He then founded the PVV. Wilders recently caused a sensation and prompted criticism by calling on all Dutch people to report to the authorities any "iniquities" committed by people from Central and Eastern Europe. In the past he has also been charged with instigating hatred against Muslims after he publicly compared the Koran to Mein Kampf, the book by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, and labeled Islam a fascist ideology held by terrorists. In his short film "Fitna" (Disruption) he overlaid footage from terrorist attacks with the recitation of verses from the Koran. Due to the collapse of negotiations on budget cuts within the minority cabinet, which included the PVV, the government of the Netherlands fell in April.

RUSSIA

In the Russian parliamentary elections, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia regularly scores points. The party is popular among extremists and people who believe Russia has lost its position as a world superpower. It lobbies against minorities and all non-Russian elements in society. It was established in 1989. One year later, Vladimir Zhirinovsky took the party helm and has been its chair ever since. His indiscriminate attacks on his opponents, his nationalist statements, and his rioting have added their notorious colors to the Russian political scene.

GREECE

In Sunday's parliamentary elections, the radical nationalist ultra-right party Golden Dawn made it into parliament for the first time. The party's significant theme is its loathing of immigrants. The party attracted voters with a program that includes the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and the installation of landmines along the Greek border with neighboring states through which immigrants most often access Greece. Some members of the party are suspected of having committed violence against immigrants. The roots of the party extend as far back as 1980, but it was not officially registered until 1993.

SWEDEN

In the elections of 2010, the Swedish Democrats got into parliament for the first time. This party, which calls itself nationalist, is demanding a halt to immigration and has labeled Islam as the greatest threat to Sweden since the end of WWII. The party succeeded in getting attention with a campaign advertisement in which a group of Muslim women wearing burkas and pushing baby carriages cuts into a welfare line in front of a Swedish pensioner with white skin. The party also lobbies against homosexuals and is famous for its euroskepticism. Analysts have labeled the party ultra-right. Human rights defenders and left-wing formations have labeled it a neo-Nazi party. The party is now doing its best to rid itself of the image of an extremist party.

GERMANY

In Germany, extremists are not represented at the national level. The neo-Nazi, populist NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands - National Democratic Party) is, however, represented in the state assemblies in Mecklenburg-Lower Pomerania and Saxony. In the Czech Republic, the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) closely collaborates with the German NPD. For the time being, the DSSS has won only one political office in the Czech Republic, a town council seat in Krupka.

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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