ekathimerini.com | The rise and rise of Golden Dawn
By Harry van Versendaal
With its leadership awaiting trial for a series of alleged felonies, why would someone vote for Golden Dawn?
“Golden Dawn is changing. To me, as a voter, there are clear signs of political maturity. The party is moving away from what used to be its core ideology; it’s not about kicking and punching immigrants anymore,” says Thodoris, a mild-mannered 45-year-old civil servant a few days after the far-right party gained seats in the European Parliament for the first time in its history.
“A growing number of people are joining out of patriotism and concern about national issues like illegal immigration. If you attend a party rally, you won't see skinheads but ordinary people like me.”
Thodoris, who lives in the seaside resort town of Porto Rafti, east of Athens, says he initially voted for the anti-immigrant, ultranationalist and Holocaust-denying group in 2012, mainly to protest the way Greece’s two mainstream parties were handling the debt crisis. But at last month's European Parliament elections, the former PASOK supporter – who did not wish to give his last name – says he had extra reasons to do so.