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24 May, 2024
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ELAM's shadow: Unveiling the far-right's fascist roots

The resurgence of far-right extremism in Europe

Marina Economides

Marina Economides

''Nazis or just another populist party?'' This has been the question in Germany for years regarding the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD). Now, it's a broader question across Europe with the rise of several far-right parties aiming to transform from anti-establishment entities, concealing their Nazi past, into mainstream political forces.

While opinions about Meloni's party in Italy are divided, Germany has given a delayed but clear response regarding AfD. Revelations of AfD members' involvement in meetings with neo-Nazis, discussing mass deportations of asylum seekers and German citizens of foreign descent who they claim failed to integrate, sparked protests by hundreds of thousands of Germans.

Despite declining support, AfD remains Germany's second-largest party, raising concerns about managing the monster it has become or if it's already too late. ELAM, Cyprus's far-right party, aims to rise in the upcoming elections, attempting to downplay its fascist past, ties to Golden Dawn, and the German neo-Nazi party NPD. It now promotes a populist agenda, following Italy's Giorgia Meloni, and seeks to join the European Conservatives and Reformists, reflecting ambitions to wield significant political influence.

However, questions arise about ELAM's flirtation with third place, given its fascist history.

Publicly, it has severed ties with Golden Dawn.
- It operates quietly in neighborhoods and stands.
- It flirted with the anti-vaccination movement and opposes the woke movement.
- It capitalized on the Right's fragmentation and crisis within DISY.
- It has been legitimized by mainstream parties and some media outlets.

ELAM's president, Christos Christou, clarified during its initial appearance at SIGMA that it's Cyprus's version of Golden Dawn, with a different name for procedural reasons. Christou previously served in Nikos Michaloliakos's guard, while ELAM's members, including Yiannis Yiannis and Angelos Ioannou, who also ran for Golden Dawn in the 2019 European elections, appeared in Golden Dawn's videos.

According to sources from "K," in ELAM's first five years in Parliament, daily telephone communications with Elias Kasidiaris were common, providing organizational and ideological guidance. After Fyssas's murder and Golden Dawn's criminal designation, ELAM distanced itself politically in consultation with Golden Dawn.

Apart from its ties with the far-right in Greece, ELAM seeks to align with other patriotic European parties and hopes to join the ECR in upcoming elections.

When asked about its relationship with AfD, ELAM denied any connection, although "K" had revealed ties between ELAM and Germany's neo-Nazi party NPD since 2019, involving underground financing and exchange missions. In 2010, two far-right members participated in an event in Paralimni, publicized by ELAM.

In 2011, then-German Interior Minister Ole Schröder confirmed connections between German neo-Nazi organizations and ELAM in a written reply to the German parliament, citing evidence of ELAM's ties with NPD.

The 2019 publication of "K" exposed links to the neo-Nazi NDP party, clandestine funding, and covert missions.

These connections were corroborated by the involvement of an unnamed Cypriot Elamite in the Fourth "Festival of the Peoples," a gathering known for hosting extremist and neo-Nazi organizations.

As per the German government's response, this specific individual participated in the fascist festival. In a related report by Andros Kyprianou, Elam acknowledged its affiliation with the German NPD, stating, "It is ridiculous to attack us not for our positions or actions, but for our cooperation with a party abroad. We have openly associated with the German NPD, one of the European nationalist movements."

Elam is now distancing itself from parties like Meloni, Salvini, and Velopoulos. While these relations were removed from the party's official website, Elam's stance hasn't diverged from these far-right ideologies.

Since 2019, Elam officials have expressed aspirations to emulate Salvini, Le Pen, and Meloni's political strategies. They have forged ties with VOX, the Law and Justice Party, and Kyriakos Velopoulos' Greek Solution.

Elam has adopted Velopoulos' slogan "Greece first" as "Cyprus first," aligning with the Golden Dawn's ideologies.

On immigration, Elam prioritizes anti-immigrant rhetoric and disseminates disinformation campaigns funded by the Elam fund. These actions have fostered xenophobia, leading to violent incidents in Chloraka and Limassol.

While emphasizing national identity, religion, and family values, Elam lacks concrete economic or political policies beyond slogans. Unlike Vox Spain, which rejects climate change, Elam hasn't taken a clear stance on environmental issues. The president's refusal to be vaccinated has garnered support within the anti-vaccination movement.

Elam's normalization within the political system, exemplified by Konstantinos Kostalias' appointment, has bolstered its influence. Cooperation with mainstream parties during the election of the Parliament's president indicates increasing legitimacy.

The crisis within DISY has further enhanced Elam's prospects. DISY's inability to address internal conflicts and ambiguous political positions has weakened its influence, providing opportunities for Elam to expand its support base.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  crisis  |  Elam  |  politics  |  Europe  |  Limassol  |  Paphos

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