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Golden Dawn’s showing in elections worries Greek government

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The ultranationalist Golden Dawn party’s showing in local Greek elections prompted concern from the national government.

In voting Sunday, no Golden Dawn candidate made it through to the second round to be held next Sunday, when elections to the European Parliament also will be held. But government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said he was unsure why the party still had so much support following a harsh government crackdown in which most of its leaders had been charged with belonging to a criminal organization.

Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris received more than 16 percent of Sunday’s vote in the race for mayor of Athens, while the party’s candidate for governor of the Attica region had more than 11 percent. In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the Golden Dawn candidate drew nearly 8 percent of the vote, according to results released Monday.

Kedikoglou said the government would do more in the run-up to the European Parliament elections to emphasize the dangers posed to Greece by Golden Dawn, according to the Kathimerini daily newspaper.

The government has arrested several party leaders and stripped the 18 Golden Dawn parliament members of their immunity.

The crackdown followed widespread outrage and protests in Greece in the wake of the Sept. 18 killing of anti-fascist rapper Killah P by a suspected Golden Dawn member.

Golden Dawn has been accused of being behind dozens of attacks on immigrants in Greece. The party is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership.

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