Nikos Michaloliakos: The far-right firebrand who holds Europe's future in his hands

 

Athens

After winning nearly half a million votes, Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party will fill 21 seats in the new parliament. Among the new MPs, who will enjoy parliamentary immunity, will be one man facing trial over his alleged involvement in a serious assault and another who is reported to be a member of a satanic rock band.

Golden Dawn gave a first taste of how it will respond to its new status as a party that took nearly 7 per cent of the national vote when it ordered journalists to stand to attention in the presence of its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos.

The shaven-headed man who gave the order and told journalists who did not want to comply to "step outside" is reported to be a member of the satanic rock band Naer Mataron. George Germenis, whose stage name is "Kaiadas" a reference to the cliff in ancient Sparta where defective babies would be cast down, was elected on Sunday night as an MP for outer Athens. The group mixes violent images from Greek mythology with stagecraft including costumes made of nails and vocals composed of death grunts.

Expected to be joining him in parliament will be Elias Kasidiaris who until Sunday's vote had been facing trial over his alleged involvement in the assault and stabbing of a Greek academic. Mr Kasidiaris, who closeness to the party leader has seen him nicknamed "the protégé" is accused of taking part in a five-man attack on a professor from Athens University in 2007. Witnesses at the scene identified Mr Kasidiaris's car. The case was due to be heard in June but will now be postponed while he remains in parliament. At least two other members of Golden Dawn's inner circle have been imprisoned or are on trial for murder.

Among those who narrowly failed to make it into parliament was a Cretan candidate Stylianos Vlamakis, known to Golden Dawn watchers as "the baker". Mr Vlamakis came to wider attention after making a trip to the site of the Dachau concentration camp where he was pictured smiling in front of the ovens where bodies were burnt during the Holocaust. After posting the pictures on his Facebook account, friends joked the ovens "made good bread".

Mr Michaloliakos, who was involved in the military dictatorship which ended in 1974, was elected to the council leadership of a borough of central Athens two years ago where he upset fellow councillors by performing Nazi salutes.

In speeches made prior to this year's election campaign he has made repeated threats against journalists, political opponents and immigrants. Addressing a crowd of supporters he said: "They haven't understood that when we have the power we will be merciless."

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