Samaras first assessed Golden Dawn options about three months ago

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with key ministers and New Democracy figures about three months before the Golden Dawn leadership was arrested to discuss how best to confront the far-right party, including the option of banning it.

Kathimerini understands that Samaras held a meeting with his close advisers Chrysanthos Lazaridis, Costas Bouras, Giorgos Mouroutis and Takis Baltakos and State Minister Dimitris Stamatis, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, ND parliamentary spokesman Makis Voridis and party secretary Andreas Papamimikos to assess his options.

The meeting was called after it became obvious that Golden Dawn’s MPs and members were acting with impunity and that the party continued to perform well in opinion polls.

Dendias, Lazaridis and Voridis were in favor of exploring the option of banning the neo-Nazi party but others who took part in the meeting feared that this would only increase its popularity. The meeting concluded that the best tactic was to tackle Golden Dawn’s actions through available legal means.

However, it was not until the attack on Communist Party workers in Perama and the violent behavior of GD MPs at a WWII memorial in Meligalas last month that Samaras asked Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou to intervene as judicial authorities were not taking any action against the party.

It was the murder of Pavlos Fyssas on September 17 that provided the government the opportunity to pursue Golden Dawn and its leadership as a criminal organization.