Poll finds Greeks critical of Golden Dawn

Friday 04 October 2013 17.08
Police monitor a demonstration by Golden Dawn supporters in Athens
Police monitor a demonstration by Golden Dawn supporters in Athens

Most Greeks view the far-right Golden Dawn party as a criminal organisation, according to a poll published today.

The poll found the party had shed almost half of its support since its leader and several politicians were arrested.

Party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, five senior politicians and dozens of party members were arrested last Saturday on charges of belonging to a criminal group.

The crackdown followed the killing of an anti-racism rapper by an avowed Golden Dawn supporter and a spate of attacks on migrants.

Mr Mihaloliakos and two fellow politicians were sent to jail pending trial, while three other MPs were freed with orders to not leave Greece.

The poll by VPRC for rizopoulospost.com, conducted in two rounds on 25 September and 30 September to 3 October, found support for Golden Dawn stood at 8.5%, down from 14.5% in July.

A majority of 68% believe Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation, the survey found.

Police have found unlicensed weapons and Nazi memorabilia in searches of the homes of arrested members but the party, whose emblem resembles a swastika, rejects the neo-Nazi label.

Golden Dawn, which won over many Greeks angry at traditional parties over the country's economic collapse, record unemployment and a rise in crime, remains the third most popular political force.

It is still more popular than the once-mighty Socialist Pasok party, a junior partner in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's coalition government, which has just 7% support, according to the poll.

The anti-bailout opposition leftist Syriza topped the poll with 29.5% support, while Mr Samaras's conservative New Democracy party stood at 29%.

Golden Dawn won 18 seats in parliament in elections last year with about 7% of the vote, after being relatively unknown for years.

The party says it is a victim of a politically-motivated witch-hunt by the government to rob it of votes.