The arrests of the Golden Dawn leader and two MPs is a pivotal moment for Greece. Since the election in June 2012 the coalition government has tried to balance between what it calls “the two extremisms” – of the far right and far left. It promised to crack down on both but did very little against Golden Dawn.
Before this morning’s mass arrests the Greek government accepted the resignation of two police chiefs, two intelligence officers and re-assigned eight critical commanders in the police force – all without explanation.
So this has to be read as clear-out of the police as well as a crackdown on the neo-Nazis.
A senior government MP told me last year “we will solve the Golden Dawn problem by getting an immigration system that works”. Since then the state has been very tough on migrants – but Golden Dawn did not go away.
So now there’s an unprecedented situation for a signatory to the EU’s Copenhagen Treaty: a legal and elected party is effectively under investigation for organised crime and murder.
And if any of Golden Dawn’s 18 MPs are forced to stand down there would have to be new elections in their electoral regions – under the PR system – which could bring an end to the coalition government itself.
Golden Dawn: these arrests preceded by two security chiefs sacked, 3rd most powerful cop resigned and 8 police commanders re-assigned