Is Golden Dawn down?

What kind of reaction do expect from the Golden Dawn after the crackdown? Would you say that the crackdown may effectively weaken this party or maybe at least in a short term the Golden Dawn may gain some support and sympathies? Read few comments.

Alexander KazamiasSenior Lecturer in Politics, Coventry University

According to the polls, both the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and the Greek authorities’ crackdown on Golden Dawn (GD) appear to have already produced a noticeable decline in the party’s support. Yesterday, a new poll showed GD down by 1/3 of its support compared to two weeks ago and this does not take account of this morning’s arrests of its leadership. Of course, much depends on how the Greek authorities continue to handle the situation and particularly the trials of Mihaloliakos and other prominent party members. Similarly, the party’s own response will also play a part, although their options seem rather limited now.

This loss of popular support can be understood in connection to two main factors. First, the fact that the neo-Nazis attracted significant support over the past two years is partly linked to their image as an audacious and unstoppable force that is capable of getting away with things that no other political party does. However, the image of handcuffs around the wrists of Kassidiaris and others will remove once and for all the widespread view that GD are somehow unassailable. The second reason is that GD, despite its anti-systemic discourse, relied significantly on supports from within key parts of the system, like the police, the secret services, the army’s special units and also some quarters in the media. Although the government has not gone far enough in uprooting these elements, the decisive move of the authorities against GD will now force all these elements to radically revise their strategy and this will have an impact on public opinion.

This being said, there was always a core far right/neo-fascist vote in Greece which probably stands at around 5%. This has never really gone away and will not go away again now. But mass support of the order of 15%, which we have seen in several polls over the past year now seems impossible for GD to maintain.

Ioannis MichaletosPolitical & Security Analyst, Associate at Institute for Security and Defence Analysis

First of all the issue as you can understand is the top news in the country with lots of coverage but also lots of cotradicting information.

If the allegations are proven correct by the judicial authorities I estimate that this will have a significant negative influence in the electorate strength of “Golden Dawn”.

On the other hand if they are acquitted in all or in most of the allegations against them or if there were mistakes made during the evidence gathering by the state authorities, then this will probably elevate even further their electorate strength since they would be “victimized” and in terms of political and social psychology they will gain points within the electorate.

About reaction from Golden Dawn, I am not expecting anything serious, at least for the first 48 Hrs. Afterwards most probably they will return in their modus operandi which is a series of small scale but combative marches in different parts oft he city along with mobilization of their group members, usually to form a unified strategy – as the developments unfold and more evidence are coming or will come into light.

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