Populists Spark Big Wins in Greek, French Elections
By Pete Papaherakles
Greece’s nationalist party, Golden Dawn, was the big winner on May 6 as Greece held its most important election in decades. On the same day, the French went to the polls where France’s nationalist party, the National Front, took a whopping 18% of the vote. These election results will have a significant impact on the future of the European Union, its currency the euro and globalization.
In Greece, the two major parties, Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and New Democracy (ND), saw a nosedive in popularity, due to the economic and immigration problems Greece is facing. PASOK, the previous ruling party, saw its support plummet to only 13% of the vote while the center-right ND narrowly took the lead with a weak 18%. These two parties, which have ruled Greece since 1974, had previously shared almost 70% of the vote.
Smaller parties have risen to fill the void. Out of 28 parties that ran, only seven scored the 3% of the vote needed to enter Parliament. Four of them are leftist, ranging from hardcore communists to the PASOK. The other three are rightwing, ranging from the moderate ND to what has been called the “ultraright-wing” Golden Dawn nationalist party.
The Golden Dawn victory was the most exciting development of the Greek elections. With only 1.5% at the polls in January, Golden Dawn entered Parliament for the first time with an astonishing 7% of the vote, giving them 21 seats. A political movement led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos since 1980, the party has been growing rapidly despite being ignored by the Greek establishment media. This is largely due to their uncompromising stands on illegal immigration, repudiation of the national debt and support for the growth of a productive Greek economy. Support for Golden Dawn has grown by leaps and bounds, especially among Greeks whose entire world has come tumbling down in the last two years. Unemployment has reached 22%—twice the Eurozone average.
In the days following the election, the winning party has three days to form a coalition to gain a majority. If it fails to do so, the second party can try its hand. If that fails, they must have a new election.
Michaloliakos told AMERICAN FREE PRESS in an exclusive interview on May 9 that he is not backing down. His party’s first mission will be to stop illegal immigration and deport all illegals. The criminal bankers and politicians, who plunged Greece into debt and despair illegally, must be put behind bars and the debt reassessed for its legality.
Michaloliakos has never shied away from controversy, despite facing several attempts on his life over the years. In March 2010, Golden Dawn offices were bombed, and there was at least one more failed attempt on his life later that year.
The media have been working on portraying Golden Dawn as Nazis and fascists in the hope of killing support. Their enemies want them outlawed and declared a criminal hate group. Their website has been taken down for alleged “hate speech.” The party’s “Greek key” logo has been referred to as a swastika and Michaloliakos as another Hitler.
“They’ve all gone crazy since we got elected,” Michaloliakos told AFP. “They have gone on a frenzy around the clock to defame us and portray us as Nazis. Even [José Manuel] Barroso is out to get us.”
Asked how he sees the election process unfolding, Michaloliakos said: “It seems doubtful a coalition government will be formed. We might have to have elections again in June. The media is doing all it can to scare people about us and to keep us out of Parliament. They own all the media. We need to find money to wage another campaign.”
Michaloliakos added: “We will fight them with everything we’ve got. . . . We will not quit until we free Greece from the bankers’ occupation. Greece belongs to the Greek people, not to the globalists.”
Meanwhile in France, Socialist Francois Hollande edged out incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency. Hollande advocates a 75% tax on the “rich,” housing for the poor and allowing gays to marry and adopt. He has also announced that France will be pulling out of the Afghanistan war.
Marine Le Pen of the right-wing, nationalist National Front received an astounding 18% of the vote, reflecting France’s rising nationalist trend.
Part of this is due to the fact that Marine, unlike her father Jean-Marie, has softened her rhetoric in order to broaden her support although she maintains the same positions on restricting immigration, protectionism, withdrawal from the euro and secession from the European Union.
Peter Papaherakles, a U.S. citizen since 1986, was born in Greece. He is AFP’s outreach director. If you would like to see AFP speakers at your rally, contact Pete at 202-544-5977.