NEWS

Parliamentary debate on violence to be delayed

It could be as long as three weeks before Parliament holds a debate about Golden Dawn, despite demands from several parties for a discussion to be held regarding far-right violence.

Sources told Kathimerini that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s imminent trip to the USA, where he is due to fly on Saturday and stay for six days, as well as an official visit to Israel mean that a proper discussion cannot take place over the next couple of weeks.

There is also concern in government circles about what form this debate will take. If it involves party leaders addressing the House, there is a fear that Golden Dawn’s Nikos Michaloliakos will use the chance to claim GD is being persecuted by the mainstream political system.

There have been numerous occasions in recent months when Golden Dawn’s interventions during debates have resulted in slanging matches and, in one case, security officers being called in.

However, the tension between New Democracy and SYRIZA over the last few days, partly as a result of accusations by conservatives that the leftists have an ambiguous approach to violence, also means that a debate could lead to deeper division and give the public the wrong message.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras wrote to Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis on Tuesday to ask for a plenary session to be held to discuss extreme-right violence in the hope that the debate could be held as soon as Samaras returns from the USA.

The leftists were critical of the government’s refusal to convene a meeting of political leaders, a move that is relatively rare and reserved for issues of national importance.