ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek far-right politician who slapped a woman in the face and threw water in the face of another during a live TV election debate threatened to sue his victims on Saturday, after accusing them of provoking the attack.
Ilias Kasidiaris, spokesman for the Golden Dawn party, has been in hiding since Thursday when he assaulted the two left-wing politicians.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday, he said he regretted becoming involved in an incident which could damage the party’s image ahead of a June 17 general election but he blamed his adversaries for the attack.
“The events that took place on Thursday morning on ‘Antenna TV’ were staged with the sole aim of provoking an extreme reaction on my part,” he wrote.
“I am sorry that without intending to, I got mixed up in a case that has confused public opinion and was aimed at hitting Golden Dawn,” Kasidiaris added.
“I will go the prosecutor in person to sue those behind the illegal actions that have taken place in the last two days.”
He provided no further details and no comment was available from Golden Dawn officials.
The scandal has added a further twist to an election that could decide whether Greece stays in the euro after five years of deep recession and public anger over the painful austerity measures demanded by international lenders.
Golden Dawn, a far-right, anti-immigrant party whose symbol resembles a Nazi swastika, won 7 percent of the vote in an inconclusive May election and entered parliament for the first time, pledging to stand up for Greeks suffering in the crisis.
The party’s image has been severely dented by continuously replays of footage of the 31-year-old Kasidiaris, a crop-haired former army commando, striking the middle-aged communist deputy Liana Kannelli.
Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; editing by Andrew Roche