Who are these more than 400,000 Greeks who casted a vote in favor of extreme-right party Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) at May 6 elections? How did the party claimed to be the Ne-Nazis of Greece managed to receive 7% of the votes and sent 21 of its elected members to the parliament?According to a survey conducted by the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, one of the main parameters that played an important role in the rise of Chrysis Avgi is their positions towards immigrants as well as the stance of Greeks towards them. A stance that is generally described as ‘negative’.
The majority of syrvey respondents said that they felt the immigrants’ presence hurts the economy and undermine the cultural life and identity of the country.
It should be noted that negative attitudes towards immigrants are not limited to areas with a high emigration presence, but diffused and residents of other apartments in Athens. In other words, the anti-immigrant attitudes released by “local” issues and the experience of everyday life and becomes a generalized post regardless of whether they address real problems of insecurity or unemployment
According to the survey, the influence of Chrysi Avgi is stronger:
a) among men b) ages 35-44 c) high school graduates and those absorbed technical education d) unemployed and traders.
Half of the Athenians against immigrants
When asked what they believe to be the impact of immigrants on the economy of the country 59% of residents in the 4th and 6th districts of Athens (districts include Kolonos, Sepolia, Academis Platonos) and 53% of residents of other apartments say they think it is negative.
In the first district group 33% of residents and 36% of the other areas said neutral and 8% and 11% respectively think it is positive.
When asked if they believe that immigrants undermine or enrich the cultural life of the country 61% of respondents in the city center said undermine, 31% have a neutral position and the 8% that enrich.
The rates for residents of other areas of Athens is 52%, 32% and 16% respectively.
The negative attitude against immigrants is not limited to voters of Chrysi Avgi, but shared also by voters of other parties.
The voters of left parties, though they too negative towards immigrants, are more conciliatory, while others apparently are in favor of a stricter policy.
Fear and crime
On a scale of 1 to 10 and on the effect immigrants have on the economy (0 = negative, 10 = positive) PASOK voters are making to average 3.4, ND 2.2, the Communist Party 3.4, LAOS 1.4, SYRIZA 3.8, 2.9 Green Party, Independent Greek 1.8, Chrysi Avgi 1.5 , Democratic Left 3.9 and Drasi 4.7.
Respondents’ answers show that the feeling of fear is pervasive among the residents throughout the Municipality of Athens.
Almost 2 out of 3 said, they “would feel fear if they needed to cross their neighborhood park after midnight” and 1 out of 3 said that “I would feel fear if I’d needed to stay a;one in my apartments for a couple of days during August” – the high summer holiday season.
Punishment and chauvinism
Respondents tend to favor less punishment for criminal of Greek origin and higher punishment for immigrants, irrespectively of whether they were legal or not.
Given the example of theft cases, only 27% of respondents suggest imprisonment of more than two years to a Greek burglar.
In comparison: a burglar should be sentenced to more than 2 years imprisonment if
he was Albanian with legal documents (said 46%), Albanian without legal documents (said 52%) and Afghan (said 49%)
These answers dismiss the common belief that Greek attitudes towards immigrants vary depending on the status of the immigrant, since the penalties proposed for the Albanian burglar who has a residence permit do not statistically differ from the penalties proposed for the corresponding nationality of burglar who has no residence permit.
source: To VIMA Sunday edition