A decision on Wednesday by one of Greece’s supreme court civil sections excludes the far-right Spartiates (Spartans) party from standing in the upcoming European Parliament election.

Thirty-one out of 46 parties and political coalitions that sought the standard high court approval to stand in the June 9 election were approved. Fourteen parties failed to pay a 20,000-euro fee to qualify. The hefty fee is reimbursed if the petitioning political party receives at least 1.5% of the general vote in the election (of valid ballots).

While the currently Parliament-represented Spartiates submitted the fee on time, the decision to keep it off the ballot stems from an ongoing judicial investigation on whether convicted and still jailed ex-Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) lieutenant and deputy Ilias Kasidiaris is actually the decision-maker behind the party.

Ruling New Democracy (ND), PASOK and the newly created Nea Aristera (New Left) parties submitted petitions against participation by the Spartiates. Main opposition SYRIZA did not officially table a petition to the high court, generating criticism by its rivals.

Earlier this month, a Supreme Court prosecutor ordered the initiation of criminal proceedings for electoral fraud against 11 members of the Spartiates party, as well as against Kasidiaris. The judicial directive, issued by Supreme Court chief prosecutor Georgia Adilini, nevertheless excludes the official leader of the party, Vassilis Stigas, who is a serving deputy in Parliament.

Kasidiaris is accused of being the mastermind of electoral fraud, as prosecutors claim he is the real leader of the far-right party, essentially “pulling the strings” from his prison cell and playing a key role in the election of 11 candidates to the Parliament.

Punches exchanged earlier in Parliament

Meanwhile, in a related development to the Spartiates, Greece’s Parliament witnessed an unprecedented, by modern standards, assault by one deputy against another, with the attacker subsequently ordered arrested by Parliament President Costas Tassoulas and delivered to a prosecutor.

While debate is often heated and passionate on the chamber floor, actual physical contact hasn’t been witnessed for many decades.

That changed on Wednesday when deputy Konstantinos Floros, who was elected with the Spartiates and subsequently declared himself independent, repeatedly pushed fellow lawmaker Vassilis Grammenos. The latter belongs to the rightist-populist Elliniki Lysi (Greek Solution) party.

Elliniki Lysi (Greek Solution) founder and president Kyriakos Velopoulos, left, and independent MP Konstantinos Floros.

The fracas came during a plenary session debate on lifting the Parliamentary immunity of Kyriakos Velopoulos, a television pitchman who founded and leads the latter party.

Floros’ father, Efstathios, has sued Velopoulos, alleging that he’s behind several anonymous social media accounts slandering him.

The two men, Velopoulos and Efstathios Floros, have a simmering political feud dating to the creation of the right-wing party, with the latter, a retired naval officer, claiming he co-founded Elliniki Lysi but was subsequently ousted.

A sizable majority of present deputies in the 300-MP legislature subsequently voted to lift Velopoulos’ immunity – something he also requested – by a margin of 258 to eight against. Three deputies voted ‘present’.