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Greek top court bars far-right Spartans party from EU election race

file photo of a policeman walking past protesters in amfissa town

Greece‘s Supreme Court banned on Wednesday the far-right Spartans party from running in this year’s elections for the European Parliament, the Athens News Agency reported.

A legal source confirmed the report to Reuters. Court decisions in Greece are not immediately announced.

The court ruled that the party did not fulfil the set requirements to contest the vote.

This month the Supreme Court prosecutor ordered that charges be brought against 11 lawmakers originally elected on the Spartans ticket on suspicion of deceiving voters in a June 2023 national election by taking guidance from a jailed politician.

Five of them are now sitting as independents.

An electoral court is also expected to rule in the coming days on whether the 11 lawmakers’ seats can be distributed among the other parties in the 300-seat parliament or whether a repeat vote must be held in the regions where they were elected.

Three ultra-nationalist parties won seats in parliament in last year’s election, sweeping up over 12% of the vote.

The court case has caused political turmoil and revealed a growing rift among the 11 lawmakers who have exchanged stinging accusations.

On Wednesday, a 33-year old lawmaker who quit the Spartans parliamentary group in February was detained after punching a lawmaker of the ultra-nationalist Greek Solution party in the face.

The Spartans party had barely registered in opinion polls before the June 2023 election until Ilias Kasidiaris, who is serving a jail term for his leadership role in the banned far-right Golden Dawn party, endorsed it from his prison cell.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed in total 31 parties to run in the June 6-9 EU elections, when voters across the 27-nation bloc will pick 720 new members for the next five years.

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