A provision was tabled late Thursday night in Parliament to block the participation in national elections of the new party fronted by the jailed Ilias Kasidiaris, who was once a leading figure of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
Speaking at length on the issue during a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the provision as “very important” for the protection of “democracy from criminal organizations and persons who appear in the guise of political parties.”
He further stressed that the move “aims not to exclude ideas, but to protect normality and constitutional freedoms,” and expressed hope that the provision will find the support of all parties.
Kathimerini understands the provision will be voted on next Tuesday, and that, so far, only center-left PASOK is moving positively for its passage.
According to the new regulation, from now on, groups that have as their effective leader someone who has been convicted as a criminal will not be able to participate in the electoral process.
Mitsotakis added that obviously this “will be judged by the Supreme Court, which is the competent authority under the Constitution to declare the candidates of the parties.”
Government sources insisted the provision is fully compatible with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Firstly they said it does not violate the principle of proportionality because it does not prevent anyone who has been convicted of even serious offenses against the state from standing as a candidate for Parliament, either as an independent or as a candidate for Parliament, but only if they are the actual leader of the party with which they are contesting the elections. The sources also noted that democracy cannot be entirely tolerant of its enemies, who make use of it in order to abuse it.
What‘s more, they postulated that the free functioning of the democratic Constitution is not served in the case of the formation of a “shell party,” which acts and operates as a criminal organization.
They also cited the plenary session of the Council of State, which highlighted, among other things, that parties have an obligation to serve the free functioning of the democratic Constitution.