The televised assault by Greece's Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris on a female Communist MP made international news. Whilst Golden Dawn initially cringed, thinking it would decimate support, their popularity has instead surged.
Dimitris Koukoutsis, Golden Dawn MP for Messinia, told Golden Dawn members and supporters that following the infamous incident the telephone has been ringing non-stop with support for the party. Initially anticipating support would fall off, Koukoutsis thinks the party could now poll up to 10 percent in next Sunday's election.
Koukoutsis told Golden Dawn members that during the Papadakis show aired on Thursday morning, Communist Party MP Liana Kanelli was continually baiting Kasidiaris and swearing at him during the commercial breaks. Papadakis did nothing to stop it, hoping it would escalate out of control.
Increased support for Golden Dawn has come from anti-Communist Greeks and those worried about the far-left. Supporters are not neo-Nazis but nationalists, a mix of ordinary people concerned about out of control immigration and crime, and fears of a Communist resurgence. Old ideologies are rising in a country where the pervasive memories of the Civil War are handed down from generation to generation.
Golden Dawn are campaigning on an anti-immigration platform and Thursday's shooting in Peania may well boost support for the party too. As Digital Journal reported a young Greek student has been charged with manslaughter after shooting an Albanian burglar, part of a gang that broke into three houses in one night, and held a the student's mother at knife-point. The student was cheered and hundreds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse to shout "Innocent" as he appeared.
According to the Athens News political analyst Theodore Couloumbis takes the opposite view, saying "My first reaction" (to the TV assault) "is that it will hurt their chances, especially with women."