It is rather amusing how the extreme right nationalist party Elam has become the centre of attention in the election campaign. With opinion polls indicating that Elam could finish third in the elections for the European Parliament, the parties from which it is likely to take votes have turned against it, bringing up its links with Greece’s neo-fascist Greek Dawn, accusing it of racism, anti-migrant rhetoric, anti-Europeanism and populist economics.

With opinion polls having shown that the majority of voters consider migration the most important problem facing the country, all the parties have decided to focus their attention on this in their campaigns. Elam, however, was there first. It has been using xenophobic rhetoric for years, advocating ideas of national purity and warning about the threat the growing number of migrants posed to Cyprus society. Migration, which made its first appearance as a major political issue in the last presidential elections, had been at the centre of Elam rhetoric long before then.

Diko has directed most of its attacks at Elam, because opinion polls indicate it will take a bigger share of the vote and push the former into fourth place. This would constitute an electoral defeat for Diko, confirmation of its contracting support base resulting from its failure to offer voters anything more than an uncompromising stance on the Cyprus problem, which Elam also does better. Diko had always been a far-right nationalist party but Elam has muscled its way into this political space, bolstered by its steadfast, anti-migrant rhetoric and close ties with the Church.

Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos has been at pains to differentiate his party, appearing in several television debates opposite the Elam chief Christos Christou, but he does not appear to have been very successful. Focusing on the idiotic Elam idea – from a few years ago – of giving migrants EU passports so they could move to other European countries, has not helped Diko shift voters. Edek is in a similar predicament, also trying to stop the flow of supporters rightwards by attacking Elam’s fascistic tendencies.

Even Disy and Akel have been using Elam in their attacks on each other. Disy has attacked Akel for sharing its anti-Europeanism and populist economic proposals with the far-right, while Akel has been claiming that Elam was nothing more than a Disy subsidiary. It has all become rather absurd, as if the only issue in the European elections is Elam.

In one way, it is positive that all the traditional parties have been attacking the party with fascistic tendencies but at the same time they are giving it a lot of free publicity that, so far, has not worked against it. This could change as the election day approaches but there is no guarantee.