As the Greek Parliament was sworn in to a new session on Oct. 7, with a benediction performed by Metropolitan Bishop of Skyros Seraphim and members of the Permanent Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, the head of the body, Evangelos Meimarakis, ordered everyone searched, particularly MPs from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, who are known to carry guns, and their invited guests.
Not all the MPs were present as many were missing from the Communist KKE and major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA.) Golden Dawn’s members attended, absent a number in jail pending trial on charges of running a criminal gang, including the leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos.
Three other Golden Dawn MPs also charged in the case but released for now, were in attendance, including party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris. The ministerial council was present in its entirety, including Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, and his Deputy Prime Minister, PASOK Socialist head Evangelos Venizelos.
The Parliament that is controlled by the government, making debates moot, began discussion on the 2014 budget that Samaras has already ordered be approved. Another consideration is a bill to increase the crimes for hate penalties which he withdrew earlier this year but has reinstated in the wake of a rampage of violence by Golden Dawn.
This afternoon the Parliamentary Assembly will begin discussions on the 2014 budget and the new bill to tackle racially-motivated violence. According to the government, this is the first surplus budget since 2001. The assembly will also discuss suspending payments towards Golden Dawn MPs, despite the differences expressed in previous discussions between party representatives and Mr. Meimarakis.
The first bills to be discussed by the Assembly are about renewable sources of energy, reforming the Mining Code and other emergency regulations for the implementation of the Public Revenue Code. In two weeks time the Assembly will discuss lifting the parliamentary immunity of five Golden Dawn MPs charged with crimes.
The Supreme Court prosecutors have also relayed the case files of indicted Golden Dawn MPs to Parliament, in order to initiate procedures and discussions for other crimes. These crimes, such as illegal possession of firearms, require a formal discussion and decision by the Parliamentary Ethics Committee, before immunity is lifted so they can be charged with felonies.