Draft amendment aimed to prevent party formed by imprisoned GD cadre from vying in next election tabled

The government on Thursday tabled a draft amendment essentially aimed to prevent the participation of a burgeoning political party in this year's general election, established by convicted and still imprisoned Ilias Kasidiaris.

Kasidiaris was convicted of being a prominent member of the now defunct Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party, which was ruled a criminal organization by an appellate-level court at the end of a closely watched trial.

He served as a top lieutenant to GD founder Nikos Mihaloliakos, who is also incarcerated at present, and was elected to Parliament on two occasions with the extreme right-wing formation.

While the aim is to prevent an overtly or thinly concealed neo-Nazi party from vying for office, opposition to the draft bill's provisions has come from certain constitutional law experts and even other political parties, concerned over the prospect of the new law being employed to outlaw other movements, deemed as extremist.

On Thursday, government sources merely conveyed an interpretation by which citizens' constitutional right to establish and participate in political parties doesn't cover criminal organizations and their participation in parliamentary elections under the guise of a political movement. The draft amendment would also forbid individuals convicted of criminal offences, of "particular disrepute", from holding leadership positions in political parties.

A special Supreme Court division designated with approving parties' participation in whatever elections would be the final adjudicator of what constitutes a criminal organization appearing as a political party and which individuals can be excluded.

The draft bill is expected to land on Parliament's floor on Tuesday and come up for a vote by the...

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