Facing pressure from his coalition partners to get behind an anti-racism bill aimed at curbing the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras will meet with them on May 27.
PASOK Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) head Fotis Kouvelis, who almost always yield to whatever Samaras wants, are said to be upset he has backed away from tougher penalties for racist crimes, including assaults on immigrants.
Samaras scheduled the sitdown after Venizelos and Kouvelis objected to delays in the bill following a meeting of conservative New Democracy officials who said the bill isn’t needed because there are already laws in place against racism, and they feared it could impede freedom of expression.
PASOK and DIMAR, natural political enemies of the ultra-right Golden Dawn, are eager to rein in the growing influence of the party which now as much support as their two parties combined.
In a dig at ND, PASOK remarked that “no one has the right to influence Parliament with leaks,” referring to reports that ND officials had decided that the bill could be shelved or at least amended. DIMAR officials criticized ND for yielding to protests against the bill by some Church officials and said Samaras is afraid to confront Golden Dawn, Kathimerini reported.
The leftist opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) said Samaras’ part is being a “hostage to far-right elements within its ranks” and called on the junior coalition partners to support the bill and not “confirm that they are beholden to Samaras and his far-right advisers.”
Like Golden Dawn, Samaras is a law-and-order supporter who also wants illegal immigrants out of Greece. Golden Dawn, however, has been accused of beating them, which the party denies.
source: Greek reporter