“Golden Dawn is now the third pole in the political life of the country. Our slogan was the thieves should be in prison and the money they embezzled returned to the people but the thieves managed to put us in jail. They tried to dig a grave for us but they fell in it themselves.”
The message went on to reiterate the main demands of the party which include cancelling the EU bail-out agreement for Greece and dealing with the problem of illegal immigration.
The extreme Right party, which has even been shunned by Marine Le Pen’s Front National and far Right Dutch leader Geert Wilders, had sought to soften its image and move away from fascist rhetoric in the run up to the election, after a government crackdown on the party saw members accused of belonging to a criminal gang and thrown in jail.
Card carrying members of the party were blamed for participating in hit squads patrolling the streets in black shirts to attack immigrants in the capital’s most rundown areas as well as racketeering and extortion.
Several high profile members were found to have Nazi memorabilia in their homes but analysts insist that the majority of their voters chose the party as a “protest vote” and not because they endorsed their “fascist ideology”.
In what was widely seen as a referendum on the handling of Greece’s four year debt crisis, voters punished the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in its first major test since its election two years ago.
The government suffered a setback when Greece’s radical leftist party, Syriza, which ran on an anti-bail-out ticket, won the majority of votes in the European election but the biggest opposition party failed to deliver the killer blow it was hoping for.
In the run up to elections the ruling coalition of centre right New Democracy and centre left Pasok had warned of the danger of voters casting a protest vote and delivering an overwhelming victory to the opposition.
It was feared that an overwhelming victory by Syriza – one that saw them win more votes than the coalition parties combined – could provoke early parliamentary elections and thrust Greece into political turmoil and destabilise its fragile economic recovery.
But the EU ballot handed Syriza only a four-point lead according to exit polls, with the co-ruling Pasok party confounding predictions of a meltdown when they secured a respectable 7 to 9 per cent of the vote.