An MP for the ultra-right Golden Dawn party, Panayiotis Iliopoulos, was ejected from a session in Parliament on Friday after the deputy used derogatory language to revile fellow MPs and cries of “Heil Hitler” were heard in the House.
Originally assumed to have been uttered by far-right MPs, Parliament’s minutes revealed that it was actually leftist Syriza MP Giorgos Pantzas who first cried ‘Heil Hitler’ in the House, not the far-right MPs.
The incident sparked a vehement exchange between conservative New Democracy, which leads the coalition government, and SYRIZA. ND said in a statement that it would not allow “democracy to become a subject of dispute between the two extremes of the political spectrum.”
The upheaval began when Yiannis Dragasakis, a prominent SYRIZA MP and economist who was chairing the session, asked security guards to remove Iliopoulos after the far-right MP remarked that «Mr Alexis is preparing a souped-up question for the prime minister,” he said, adding that the leftist opposition leader Alexis Tsipras was “sleeping the sleep of the just” and dreaming of waking up as prime minister.
Pulled up by Dragasakis for using derogatory language, Iliopoulos went further, condemning fellow MPs as «wretched sell-outs» and «goats.» Iliopoulos left Parliament, cursing all the while, accompanied by the remaining Golden Dawn MP who had been in attendance. Shouts of “Heil Hitler” were heard during the MPs’ departures.
Dragasakis called for a censure motion against Iliopoulos for “behavior unfit for Parliament,” the first time a lawmaker has faced censure on those grounds.
In a written statement issued after the row, Dragasakis said there had been no “dispute between parties,” speaking instead of “an insult to Parliament by Golden Dawn.”
Earlier in the day in Parliament, a request by former prime minister and socialist PASOK deputy George Papandreou to be granted leave so that he can attend a conference abroad as a speaker prompted hoots of laughter from Golden Dawn MPs.