Greek PM: extremism will fade once employment picks up

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 07, 2013 11:25 AM
Greek PM: extremism will fade once employment picks up

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Support for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party will fade once the economy recovers and unemployment declines, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Friday.

Golden Dawn rose from obscurity last year on an anti-immigrant and anti-corruption agenda, tapping into popular anger over austerity measures demanded by the country's lenders and fears of rising crime.

Greeks have seen their living standards crumble as the country faces its sixth year of a recession that has driven unemployment to record highs.

Speaking at an economic seminar in Finland, Samaras said voters who were turning to extremist movements were merely expressing their discontent for politicians already in power.

"In Greece for example we have a new party that came out, Golden Dawn, which is neo-Nazi basically," he said. "Now there are about 12 percent of the people who say they're going to vote for it. They are not voting for neo-Nazi ... they are voting against the political structure."

"I believe that the moment unemployment will start falling, this whole concept of extremities will be reduced, if not diluted," Samaras said.

Golden Dawn, which organizes "Greeks-only" food handouts and blood donations, denies the neo-Nazi label though its emblem resembles the Swastika and there are published photographs of its supporters giving Nazi-style salutes.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Pravin Char)