Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, one of 18 Members of Parliament for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party whose leaders have been arrested on charges of running a criminal organization, has resigned after saying he was not aware of its activities.
Alexopoulos, who represents the party in Larissa in central Greece, said he would stay in Parliament as an Independent. Nine of the party’s MPS have been charged already and Parliament is considering revoking immunity for the rest so they can be prosecuted as the government tries to dismantle the extremist organization.
In a letter addressed to House speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, Alexopoulos said he had not been aware of Golden Dawn’s “criminal activities” that emerged from an ongoing judicial probe into the party.
“I reached this decision following a series of revelations regarding the activities of [GD] members, which have been defined as criminal, and which naturally I had no knowledge of,” he wrote, adding that he and fellow comrades condemned these alleged acts. He said that he should have spoken out earlier but did not do so for reasons he would clarify at a later date.
Golden Dawn’s remaining 17 lawmakers responded by calling Alexopoulos a “liar,” ”defamer” and “coward” and calling on him to resign after he had already quit
According to a resume posted on his personal website, now taken down, Alexopoulos joined Golden Dawn in 1996.
Greece’s financial crisis helped Golden Dawn gain nearly 7 per cent of the vote and 18 seats in Greece’s 300-member Parliament but its popularity has waned since the murder of an anti-fascist hip-hop artist in September 2013 for which a man linked to the party was charged. That set off government crackdown against the group.