Is Greece’s New Democracy party whitewashing neo-Nazis?

Rising popularity of Golden Dawn causes a longtime member to call for cooperation between the parties

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

Former Greek minister and parliamentary speaker, longtime New Democracy member Vyron Polydoras (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Former Greek minister and parliamentary speaker, longtime New Democracy member Vyron Polydoras (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

A longtime member of New Democracy, Greece’s ruling party, called for collaboration with neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn at a July 1 conference, sparking a debate whether his party has become, as critics suggest, a laundering facility for neo-Nazi politicians.

According to Athens-based daily Greek newspaper Kathimerini, former minister and parliamentary speaker Vyron Polydoras proposed new cooperation measures between New Democracy and Golden Dawn, “as part of a ‘broader consensus’ to defend the nation.”

The report continues with a response from the New Democracy spokesperson saying Polydoras’s suggestion was “strange.”

But with rising support for New Democracy (recent polls mark it as the third largest party at 9.1 percent of the popular vote, ahead of coalition partner PASOK at 6.1%), combined with past precedents of absorbing members with neo-Nazi links, it is possible Polydoras’s proposal was meant to be pragmatic.

Three politicians in particular are singled out as having neo-Nazi ties, all former members of the far-right LAOS party: Makis Voridis, Thanos Plevris and Adonis Georgiadis, the controversial new health minister who has said in the past that “all major banks belong to the Jews” and that “the Jewish lobby” would determine the fate of Greece’s foreign debt.

Voridis, after a history in alleged neo-Nazi youth groups, founded in 1994 what is considered an anti-immigrant party, Hellenic Front. In the 2000 national elections it ran together with First Line, a party founded by self-professed Holocaust denier Kostas Plevris, the author of “Jews, the Whole Truth” — published by the current Health Minister Georgiadis — and father of Thanos Plevris.

Thanos Plevris was elected to the Greek parliament in 2007 with LAOS, and only recently joined New Democracy in May 2013.

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