Greece MPs take power - for one day

 

The 300 MPs elected in Greece's inconclusive May 6 ballot were sworn
in today, including 21 from the right-wing Golden Dawn party.

Golden Dawn vehemently rejects the neo-Nazi label, insisting it is a nationalist patriotic party. But its meteoric rise from a largely marginalised party a few years ago to one that won nearly 7% in recent elections has alarmed many in Greece and in Europe.

The 21 MPs - 20 men and one woman - were the first to enter the main chamber of Parliament for the swearing-in ceremony.

The Golden Dawn ones refused to stand for the separate swearing-in of two Greek Muslim MPs who took their oaths on the Koran instead of on the Bible, remaining seated as the rest of the assembly stood.

"Beginning today Golden Dawn is officially in Parliament to speak the language of truth and to express all Greeks," said MP Ilias Kassidiaris.

The MPs will only be in power for one day. The May 6 election left no party with enough votes to form a government after Greeks furious over the handling of the country's financial crisis deserted the two formerly dominant parties, the socialists and conservatives, and turned instead to smaller groups to the right and left.

Coalition talks collapsed after nine days, leaving no other option but a return to the ballot box. A caretaker government has been appointed, to be led by a senior judge, and the newly sworn-in Parliament is to be dissolved tomorrow so an election can officially be called. It is expected to be held June 17.

Golden Dawn gained both on the protest vote from people angered by the increasing hardship ensuing from the austerity measures imposed in return for billions of euros in international rescue loans, and from the backlash against an illegal immigration problem that has spiralled out of control.

It campaigned on an anti-immigration platform, promising to expel all illegal immigrants and clean up crime-ridden neighbourhoods, while also delivering care packages of food and clothing to needy Greeks.

It also advocates planting land mines along Greece's border with Turkey to stop any more illegal immigrants entering the country. And its members have been blamed for violent racist attacks in the centre of Athens and elsewhere.

"People say they are trouble, they might hit people and do other things, but there are some people that were helped by Golden Dawn," said Athens resident Mattheos, who would not give his surname. "They are not right about everything, about land mines on the border, but they are right about one thing - the immigration."

Still, there has been a backlash against the party in Greece and abroad in the run-up to the last election and since their strong showing at the polls, with politicians and civil rights groups criticising them as an extremist party that has no place in Parliament.

"The Golden Dawn party is a dark stain on European politics. For the first time in over six decades a seemingly long hidden Nazi ideology returned to power," said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress.

"The Golden Dawn party is not a far-right wing party, it represents a neo-Nazi vision and ideology that many believed was isolated. Their political rise should have sent shock-waves through Europe and we expect politicians to openly reject this new-old danger."

To some extent, the party has been rejected.

Its leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos, who came to prominence a few years ago when he gave a fascist salute during his first appearance as a newly-elected member of the Athens City Council, was not invited to power-sharing talks in the aftermath of the May 6 vote.

None of the other parties sought out Golden Dawn's support.

Opinion polls in recent days have shown a fall in support for Golden Dawn, although it might still gain above the 3% threshold needed to enter parliament.

Greece's 16-member caretaker Cabinet, led by Council of State head Panagiotis Pikrammenos, a 67-year-old judge, was also sworn in to lead the country to next month's election.

Giorgos Zanias, a senior Finance Ministry official and top negotiator in the nation's huge debt write down deal concluded earlier this year, has been appointed caretaker finance minister. Veteran diplomat Petros Molyviatis was named foreign minister.

The temporary government will not be able to take any internationally binding decisions, and its sole aim is to lead the country into the new elections.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: One of SThree's most successfu...

Nursery Manager

£10 - £11 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: Nursery Manager We are loo...

Early Years Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor