ATHENS, October 15- Greek lawmakers on Tuesday began debating a bill containing an amendment seeking to suspend financing to the neo Nazi party Golden Dawn, which is due to be adopted later this week.
The last minute provision was introduced by government into a bill on “the environment, energy and climate change”, that will face a vote on Thursday.
It introduces the possibility to suspend state financing to parties whose leader or members are being prosecuted for “belonging to a criminal organisation” and terrorist acts.
The move comes as government seeks to crack down on Golden Dawn, which has rapidly gained ground in the country and has 18 lawmakers in the 300 seat parliament.
Six Golden Dawn lawmakers including the party’s leader were indicted in early October for taking part in a criminal organisation, in a crackdown prompted by last month’s murder of an anti fascist musician by a supporter of the party.
Three of them have been released pending trial.
Radical left party Syriza has introduced a rival amendment to remove the reference to terrorism and attach several conditions to the suspension of financing.
On Wednesday parliament will vote on whether to lift parliamentary immunity of three separate neo-Nazi lawmakers also suspected of being central to operations of a “criminal organisation”.
Three of those already indicted also face losing their immunity for crimes other than those for which they are already being prosecuted.
The three still incarcerated have been refused the right to vote on Wednesday.
Formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, Golden Dawn has skyrocketed to popularity by tapping into widespread anger over unpopular reforms in a country that is currently slogging through its sixth year of recession and where unemployment among the young stands at a staggering 60 percent.