έβγαζε ανακοίνωση υπέρ της αποζημίωσης των εβραίων για το εβραϊκό νεκροταφείο της Θεσσαλονίκης σαν κίνηση καλής θέλησης προς την εβραική κοινότητα… έλεγε στους αμερικάνους ότι έχει δώσει εντολή να πέσουν οι τόνοι από τα στελέχη του… θύμιζε ότι είχε συναντηθεί με λαθρομετανάστες… και τέλος επιζητούσε μια συνάντηση με τον Ερντογάν που όμως θα φαίνονταν “τυχαία” για να μην πονηρευτούν οι ηλίθιοι που τον στηρίζουν…
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C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 001515 SIPDIS
SUBJECT: Greece’s Surging Far-Right LAOS Party Inches Towards Center
SUMMARY: In the aftermath of their unprecedented success in European Parliament elections in June, the leaders of Greece’s surging, far-right Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) expect to win 6 to 7 percent of the vote and up to 20 parliamentary seats in October 4 domestic elections and are preparing to be a “more responsible party” on human rights and foreign affairs issues. Niki Tzavella,
2. (U) See ref A for a broader overview of October 4 parliamentary elections. —————————————-
3. (C) In June European Parliament elections, LAOS rode a wave of discontent among center-right voters over ND’s handling of the December 2008 riots in Athens, illegal immigration, and the economic crisis to win an unprecedented 7.15 percent of the vote, sending two LAOS MEPs–including Niki Tzavella–to Brussels (see ref D). Since then, Karatzaferis has pursued a two-pronged strategy of poaching disgruntled ND politicians and publicly declaring his desire for a LAOS-ND grand coalition.
Turning a New Leaf on Anti-Semitism, National Issues? —————————————-
4. (C) Tzavela stressed that
1) Immediately after LAOS’ strong Euro-elections showing, Karatzaferis instructed party delegates to “tone down” irresponsible anti-Semitism and racist remarks;
2) Karatzaferis met with illegal migrants in April to highlight that his proposal for strict immigration quotas was not racist;
3) LAOS MEPs had signed a public declaration against racism, discrimination, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia in Brussels;
4) Tzavela had reached out to the leader of the Thessaloniki Jewish community, David Saltiel, to discuss how LAOS can have better relations;
5) Konstantinos Plevris, who had authored the anti-Semitic “The Jews–The Whole Truth” and who had called Jews “subhuman” and “mortal enemies,” had left LAOS; and
6) soon after the October 4 elections, Karatzaferis would publish a signed editorial in a “major newspaper” supporting the resolution of property restitution negotiations over the Thessaloniki Jewish cemetery.
These actions, Tzavela said, demonstrate that
The Future: A LAOS-ND Center-Right Coalition?
5. (C) Despite LAOS’ recent political success hewing to a far-right, anti-immigration, law-and-order platform, top party leaders appear to be seeking a way to reunite with ND, either in a center-right coalition or possibly by melding LAOS and ND into one entity. In a July 17 meeting, Tzavela said Karatzaferis, ever since being expelled from ND in 2000, hoped to return to his old party–and this desire was part of the reason he had embraced a strategy of calling for a ND-LAOS coalition. During the September 23 meeting, Tzavela noted that she, too, hoped that LAOS could rejoin ND to form a stable coalition focused on private enterprise, market-based economic reforms, and revitalizing the 1970s “glory days” of the Greek center-right. (NOTE: Tzavela herself is a former ND parliamentarian.) However, given the distaste of most ND interlocutors towards the notion of cooperating with
6. (C) Tzavela assessed that ND would very likely lose the October 4 elections to PASOK and that Karamanlis would step down as party chief. Tzavela thought his most likely successors were Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyianni, Minister of Culture Antonis Samaras, or Minister of Health and Social Solidarity Dimitris Avramopoulos. Samaras and Avramapoulos would probably be more amenable to LAOS-ND cooperation, Tzavela noted, so if either took over ND,
COMMENT: Moderation Both a Risk and an
7. (C) If LAOS performs strongly in the October 4 elections, gaining 7 or more percent of the vote, Karatzaferis and Tzavela will face two strategic questions: Should LAOS moderate and become a “responsible party,” risking the loyalty of its vociferous far-right, ultra-nationalist base? And, does LAOS stand a chance of pursuing a center-right coalition, even while ND officials at all levels of the party vehemently deny they will ever cooperate? During June European Parliament elections,
Biographical Information: Niki Tzavela
8. (C) Tzavela openly admitted that she “did not fit the