Elena Becatoros, AP, October 22, 2013
Greek lawmakers are to vote late Tuesday on a proposal to suspend state funding for political parties accused of criminal activities, a measure targeting the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn group.
The legislation was backed by the conservative-led governing coalition, the main opposition and a small leftwing party–representing 241 of Parliament’s 300 seats.
It allows an indefinite funding freeze for parties whose leadership is charged with involvement in a criminal group, or terrorism.
Golden Dawn is under a criminal investigation sparked by last month’s fatal stabbing of a Greek rap singer, an attack blamed on a party volunteer. Its leader and two lawmakers have been jailed in pre-trial custody as alleged members of a criminal organization, and another six lawmakers have been stripped of immunity from prosecution to face similar charges.
None of the party leadership has been charged with any direct connection to the killing.
Golden Dawn says the prosecution of its members is politically motivated.
Formerly a fringe party, Golden Dawn’s popularity soared in recent years as the country sank into a financial depression and unemployment spiraled. Running on an anti-immigrant campaign, it won 18 seats in Parliament and nearly 7 percent of the vote in 2012 elections.
Party members and supporters have long been blamed for violent attacks, mostly against dark-skinned immigrants but also against left-wing political opponents and gays. Golden Dawn denies any involvement.