Top judge quits over legal dispute

Top judge quits over legal dispute

A legal dispute involving the government’s attempt to prevent a far-right political party from running in the general election scheduled for next month led to the resignation of a vice president of Greece’s Supreme Court on Monday. 

One of the 10 vice presidents of the court still in office, judge Christos Tzanerikos submitted his resignation after the government sent a new bill to Parliament that would have excluded the Greeks Party from the May 21 election.

Ilias Kasidiaris, an imprisoned former lawmaker of the far-right Golden Dawn party founded the Greeks Party two years ago. An amendment to the law prohibiting it from running candidates in elections was approved by Parliament in February.

Last week, the party chose a new leader in an effort to circumvent the ban, which prompted the government to propose a new amendment that broadened the ban’s application. Additionally, it requests that the Supreme Court hold a plenary session rather than a regular one in order to consider the ban.

Tzanerikos voiced his public opposition to the new amendment, calling it governmental meddling in the judiciary.

As no clear winner is anticipated in the election on May 21, the Greeks Party’s participation could have a significant impact and limit coalition options.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed to all democratic forces to agree and vote in favor of a fresh government measure to ban the far-right political party from participating in next month’s general election.

“Tomorrow in Parliament everyone will assume their responsibilities. Those who do not vote for this amendment are the same people… that want this formation to somehow end up in Parliament,” he claimed.

“So I appeal to all the democratic forces, tomorrow, the last day of operation of this Parliament before it is dissolved, to finally agree and put aside any differences and understand that this matter is a major issue of democracy. Golden Dawn is a convicted criminal organization,” Mitsotakis said. 

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