Top judge quits in legal dispute over elections

Top judge quits in legal dispute over elections

A vice president at Greece’s Supreme Court resigned Monday in a legal dispute over an attempt by the government to ban a far-right political party from participating in a general election next month.

Judge Christos Tzanerikos, one of 10 serving vice presidents at the court, tendered his resignation after the government introduced supplementary draft legislation to Parliament aimed at barring the Greeks Party from the May 21 election.

The Greeks Party was founded two years ago by a jailed former lawmaker of the extreme right Golden Dawn party. Parliament in February approved a legislative amendment to ban it from fielding candidates in elections.

The party appointed a new leader last week to try to bypass the ban, prompting the government to submit a new amendment, broadening the scope of the ban. It is also calling for a plenary session of the Supreme Court to consider the ban, instead of a regular session.

Tzanerikos publicly objected to the new amendment, describing it as government interference in the judiciary.

Participation of the Greeks Party could have a significant impact on the May 21 election, narrowing coalition options, with opinion polls showing that no outright winner is expected.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose center-right New Democracy party is leading in the polls, is seeking a second term. [AP]

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