The Greek coalition government has been “plunged into chaos”, reports Thursday’s Financial Times, by the release Wednesday of a video featuring Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris having a politically embarrassing conversation with Takis Baltakos, who has duly resigned as the prime minister’s chief of staff.
The film was posted online, and shows Baltakos claiming Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had ordered the arrest of Golden Dawn MPs without enough evidence. Samaras denies any knowledge of the affair, according to the London newspaper, which predicts the scandal will most likely cost New Democracy votes at the forthcoming European elections.
The scandal prompted Pamos Kammenos, head of the right-wing opposition party Independent Greeks to demand that the coalition government step down, while junior coalition partner PASYK said connections with neo-Nazis should be punished.
The video was released by Golden Dawn shortly before parliament voted overwhelmingly to lift the immunity from prosecution afforded five of Golden Dawn lawmakers as MPs, among them Ilias Kasidiaris, a candidate for mayor of Athens. Kasidiaris claims that, if elected and imprisoned, he would perform mayoral duties even from his cell.
The BBC says the case is “at the very least an embarrassment” for the Greek government and further evidence that Greece’s judiciary is not independent, stressing that collapse of the indictment against Golden Dawn would deliver another major blow to the government.
German newspaper Die Zeit published an article entitled “Samaras seems to have affected the prosecution of Golden Dawn”, which says Greek ministers seem to have given instructions to the court to prosecute Golden Dawn for political reasons, and points out the slender majority by which the Greek government retains office.