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Golden Dawn won nearly 7 percent of the vote on May 6, giving it 21 seats in the 300-member Parliament. It was a radical increase from its showing in the previous elections in 2009, when the party won just 0.31 percent of the vote.
Greeks reeling from two years of austerity amid their country’s vicious financial crisis punished the two main parties, the conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK, turning instead to smaller radical parties to the right and left.
The 300 deputies took up their seats for a day last month before parliament was dissolved and new elections called as no party won enough votes to form a government. Coalition talks collapsed after 10 days.
"The people voted for them because they didn’t know what Golden Dawn was. They didn’t know they’re a new form of neo-Nazis," said Athenian Maria Misaridaki walking through the capital’s central Syntagma Square. "They saw the violence. It should open their eyes so as not to vote for them."
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