Greece is a parliamentary republic and, since July 2019, ruled by a majority government of the New Democracy (Néa Dhimokratía – right-wing) party. While the economic crisis of 2008-2015 was officially declared over, high numbers of unemployment and stagnated wages remain a problem, magnified by the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greece is a parliamentary republic and, since July 2019, ruled by a majority government of the New Democracy (Néa Dhimokratía – right-wing) party. While the economic crisis of 2008-2015 was officially declared over, high numbers of unemployment and stagnated wages remain a problem, magnified by the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country maintains positive relations with its neighbouring countries in the North. Unresolved disputes with Turkey over exclusive economic zones (EEZ), territorial waters and other issues have created renewed tensions in the last years. Greece maintains a “special relationship” with the Republic of Cyprus.
Human rights have not been improving in the country over the past few years. Greece is faced with numerous reports from international bodies and organizations, as well as mounting evidence that there’s a central, state-sponsored policy of pushbacks against asylum seekers and migrants both in the land border of Evros and in the Aegean Sea. Meanwhile, the government has passed a new law on citizenship, making prerequisites for applications stricter than before.
Status of the far-right in the country
The far-right has a recorded total presence of 7,6%, as expressed in the last elections. The main far-right party is Greek Solution, with 3,7% and 10 seats in the parliament. Outside of parliament, Golden Dawn is the largest party of the far-right with 2,93%, while two smaller parties share another 1%. After Golden Dawn’s failure to enter parliament and facing the end of the trial, two split parties formed by the two most prominent members of the neo-Nazi party: “National Popular Consciousness” (“ELASYN”) by Ioannis Lagos (MEP with Golden Dawn, later independent) and Ilias Kasidiaris, previously spokesperson of the Golden Dawn.
Another aspect of the far-right presence is the infiltration of some of its prominent political figures into mainstream right. Three cabinet members of the current government have come to the ruling party from the far-right with no real indication that they have denounced their past, while the public rhetoric of prominent members of New Democracy, as well as the policies implemented by its government, can be seen as sliding more and more to the far-right.
Organized far-right violence has receded significantly since the apparent decline of Golden Dawn. But incidents of racist violence remain present, with some limited resurgence in violence from groups seen in 2021. New groups such as “Trustees of Article 120 of the Constitution” have emerged acting publicly as a militia, while existing groups (“Sacred Band”, “Propatria”) seem to be moving in to fill the gap left by dissolved local chapters of Golden Dawn.
While the far-right in Greece is highly sectarized, the common ancestry of its groups, tracing back to the years of the military dictatorship (1967-1974) and even further to the Civil War (1946-1949) is acting like a cohesive element. This explains why all far-right groups in Greece can be seen aligning behind a common agenda, despite their proclaimed differences.
Attacks from the far-right are mostly directed to those considered by the far-right as “enemy from within”, such as leftists, communists, anarchists and other antifascists, including centrists. Violence against refugees and migrants also occurs, sometimes organized. Acts of vandalism and desecration of Jewish cemeteries have also been recorded recently.