Cyprus' "Golden Dawn" is quickly rising.
Last October, the Greek government imprisoned the entire parliamentary bloc of Golden Dawn, due to their growing electoral success
The decision to sentence leader Nikos Micholiakos and multiple others to 13 years in prison just for belonging to the nationalist party was received with applause by "human rights" groups and the global media, but it continues to stand as one of the most brazen acts of political repression in recent memory.
But it appears that their political program lives on in Cyprus, where ELAM (National People's Front) -- which was founded by a Golden Dawn member and was considered its sister organization until the crackdown -- is poised to become the country's 4th largest party.
Mass immigration, renewed Turkish aggression, and local corruption have almost doubled ELAM's base of support from 3.7% in the 2016 parliamentary election to polls registering them at 7%. Mainstream parties have been forced to try and coopt ELAM's rhetoric, but many voters are realizing they are insincere.
Jewish non-governmental organizations, such as George Soros' OpenDemocracy, have been complaining over ELAM being allowed to freely compete in elections for months now. European media often characterizes them as "Neo-Nazi" or even "alt-right" and have also been lobbying the Cypriot state to crack down on their increasingly popular opponents despite its ongoing public confidence crisis.
Outside observers are hoping that a number of American-style "populist" groups that have suddenly cropped up, such as "Awaken Cypriots," can split ELAM's vote and limit their parliamentary gains. The Greek nationalist group has supported COVID restrictions as a means for keeping immigrants from the Middle East out on public health grounds, while "Awaken Cypriots" have in contrast been campaigning as supporters of Q Anon and in opposition to COVID restrictions and vaccines.
In 2019, following an impressive showing by leader Christos Christou in the 2018 presidential race, the Cypriot government opened up a politically motivated investigation into ELAM -- which has existed since 2008 -- as a "criminal organization," a template similar to the one the Greek government used to stop Golden Dawn's momentum after 2013. News of this investigation does not appear to have had much of an effect on the group's popularity or outreach, which centers around providing services and solidarity with working class Cypriots, exposing local corruption and forcefully confronting Turkish harassment.
US social media companies have been meddling in the election as well. ELAM lost its twitter account last month and struggles to use its Facebook to campaign, even though its competitors on the left and right do not suffer such restrictions.
Cypriots are scheduled to vote on Sunday.