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French National Front Flirting With Golden Dawn?

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen
French National Front leader Marine Le Pen

France’s National Front is reportedly looking for an alliance with Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to expand the reach of the extremists in the European Parliament.
The news site EurActiv’s Greek branch reported on the possible collaboration, which the French party’s leader Marine Le Pen denied.
Greeks are used to the sight of Golden Dawn’s menacing spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, garbed in black, spouting angrily against the party’s perceived enemies, and of the party’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos, detained in jail now, going ballistic in verbal assaults.
A post EU-election alliance between the French far-right National Front and the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is not entirely ruled out. EurActiv Greece reported although Le Pen has tried to keep her distance from the Greek extremists.
But the political balances in the next European Parliament and the openly ambiguous stance of Golden Dawn make an alliance still look possible, the site said.
Le Pen wants to put together a new far-right group in the European Parliament after the elections. To do this, she needs a minimum of 25 MEPs from seven nationalities, leaving the National Front looking for allies to meet the threshold.
Given the traditional reluctance of nationalist parties to cooperate at a European level, National Front-Golden Dawn post-election cooperation should not be ruled out, Michalis Peglis, a political analyst in Greece, told EurActiv.
According to Peglis, there are strong mutual benefits for far-right parties to take in MEPs from Golden Dawn, which is likely to win two seats in the European Parliament.
There are indications that the far-right sentiment is gaining in Europe, with the Hungarian Jobbik party picking up seats in Parliament by doing a makeover appealing to more mainstream voters.
ATHENS – With its leaders locked up or arrested on charges of running a criminal gang, Greece’s ultra-far right Golden Dawn party is trying a different strategy to keep its supporters and gain new ones: suits and ties.
While many of its zealots prefer a black T-shirt with the Swastika-like ancient Greek meander symbol to show their disdain for other parties, the extremists fielded candidates in the May 25 European elections with what seemed to be an oxymoron for them: intellectuals and people wearing business attire.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported on the changing trend for a party known for bombastic rhetoric and anti-Semitism, anti-Capitalism, anti-immigrant, anti-Atheist views.
“Replacing boots with suits, the party has sought to shed its menacing persona, fielding middle-class professionals in an effort to broaden its appeal. Among its 42 candidates are university professors, lawyers, surgeons, business people and a former NATO commander,” the paper said.
“Golden Dawn is in a new phase of development due to Greece’s social and economic crisis,” Giorgos Kyrtsos, a political commentator and European Parliament candidate for the ruling center-right New Democracy told the newspaper.
“With the middle class determined to avenge the government for policies that have seen its living standards collapse, the far right has understood strong-arm tactics are no longer necessary,” he added.
Golden Dawn rose from obscurity and 0.29 percent of the vote in 2009 in 6.97 percent in 2012 and 18 seats in Parliament, bulwarked by a platform of opposition to crushing austerity measures being imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders.
The party rose by reaching out to people hurt by big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, worker firings and the unfairness of traditional political leaders and the rich escaping sacrifice and prospering while the middle-class, pensioners and the poor picked up the tab for decades of wild overspending by New Democracy and the PASOK Socialists, now serving in a coalition with the rulers.

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