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Greece’s Far-Right Spartans Risks Collapse as Leader Suspends MPs

The new Greek far-right party Spartans, which first appeared in the latest parliamentary elections, is on the verge of collapse after its leader, Vasilis Stigkas, removed three of his 12 MPs – Ioannis Kontis, Ioannis Dimitrokalis and Haris Hatzivardas – accusing them of connections with “the Greek mafia”. Despite their suspension, the MPs have kept their parliamentary seats.

Removing the three MPs does not deprive them of their parliamentary office. In Greece, people select their parliamentarians through the elections; neither their leader nor party selects them, Andreas Takis, assistant professor at the Faculty of Law of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, explained to BIRN.

“They can either move to another party or, if they are sufficient in number, set up their own separate parliamentary group; but in no case are they legally obliged to resign,” he added.

The speaker of parliament, Kostas Tasoulas, asked Stigkas to state in writing whether or not the parliamentary group of the Spartans still exists.

On Greek TV channel OPEN on Friday, Stigkas said his party is left with nine MPs out of 12, and he will see what he will do.

He reaffirmed that there had been an attempt by extra-institutional circles to overthrow him from the party leadership because they want to get their hands on its state funding.

The Spartans appeared for the first time in the second round of the June 25 parliamentary elections, taking fifth place in the Greek parliament with 4.68 per cent of the vote and 12 seats.

Ilias Kasidiaris, who was sentenced to prison for his leading role in the banned Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party, announced his support on Twitter for the Spartans from his prison cell.

Previously, his far-right National Party – Greeks, was blocked from participation in the elections by the Supreme Court; the decision was based on legislation that excludes parties whose leaders have been convicted of serious crimes from elections. In turn, many members of Kasidiaris’s party joined the Spartans.

“I have been blackmailed in so many ways. .. where they [the MPs] get orders from, we will find out.. They have suggested I commit illegal activities” – and are trying to convince him to give part of his state funding elsewhere, Stigkas told OPEN without mentioning exactly where.

When asked if the “extra-nstitutional forces” are Ilias Kasidiaris, Stigkas replied: “I never said that, and I will not say it, not that I’m afraid, I just think that it’s not the time to talk yet.”

“The political formation of the Spartans was apparently ephemeral and was created only for the purposes of the specific electoral process,” said Takis.

Spartans’ rhetoric is different from what it is, Takis explained, noting that many voters fell victim to its supposed anti-systemic rhetoric and voted for the party without realizing they were voting for a far-right or fascist formation, which also hides a lot of corruption, as is usual on the extreme right.

Eleven Spartans MPs responded to Stigka’s accusations, characterizing them as defamatory and saying he is operating outside the institutions and is afraid of holding a party conference.

“Whoever refers to mafia tactics is because he knows them and applies them himself. Stigkas’s performance today in the plenary session of parliament was staged by the government, which it used as a pawn,” the 11 MPs claimed.

“His obscene and slanderous statements against elected MPs primarily offend our 250,000 voters who are the only ones to whom we are accountable,” they added.

“Why is Stigkas afraid of the party congress and open democratic processes? Because he knows he is the only one who has operated and operates extra-institutionally and illegally, violating the statute, not staffing bodies to exercise control and obstructing the opening of the party to the base that brought it to parliament,” they continued.

Source : BalkanInsight