Greek neo-Nazi Eurodeputy defects from Golden Dawn party

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A prominent member of Greece’s Golden Dawn party recently elected to the European parliament has defected, the party said Saturday, the latest blow to a troubled organization facing a damaging murder trial.

Yiannis Lagos, formerly a Golden Dawn lawmaker in Greece, had earlier told a Greek news portal that he was becoming an independent because he disagreed with party policy.

“I feel we are making the wrong political moves,” he told newsbeast.gr portal.

“Golden Dawn was never a criminal organization, nor will it ever be. We always stood for the homeland and the nation,” he said.

The party on Saturday called on Lagos to relinquish the European parliament seat he won in May’s election.

“Everyone knows that he was elected on a ticket bearing the name of Golden Dawn,” the party said.

Once Greece’s third-strongest party, Golden Dawn has been in disarray as a verdict in the trial for the 2013 murder of an anti-fascist rapper by alleged members of the party has drawn closer.

The party’s previous European deputies quit before the election, and it suffered heavy losses in last week’s Greek general election, failing to enter parliament for the first time since 2012.