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Greek neo-Nazi figurehead Ioannis Lagos is the Class of 2024’s biggest no-show, having missed most votes in the European Parliament.

So where was he? Well, in jail.

The 51-year-old was condemned to 13 years in prison in 2020 for running a criminal organization, the extreme-right Golden Dawn party which he co-founded and which he represents in the EU Parliament. He was arrested in April 2021 after Parliament lifted his immunity, and is now serving his time in a Greek prison. Prior to that, the Greek MEP had also gotten two penalties for using “abusive language” in Parliament speeches.

Unsurprisingly, this meant Lagos topped the list of MEPs who were the most absent during this mandate. He missed 62 percent of roll-call votes in plenary, according to POLITICO’s data analysis.

“My imprisonment was for this very purpose: so that I will not be able to execute my mandate in the European Parliament,” Lagos previously told POLITICO.

More surprising, though, is that Lagos is still performing parliamentary work from his prison cell, filing questions to the Commission and having submitted amendments to laws as late as February 2022. The Parliament’s remote voting system, installed to allow the chamber to continue work during lockdown periods, did allow Lagos to cast some votes from jail.

He’s not the only politician who had to miss votes this mandate because they were in jail: Eva Kaili, another Greek lawmaker, and Belgium’s Marc Tarabella missed a couple after being detained over the money-for-influence Qatargate investigation. So did Italian MEP Andrea Cozzolino while under house arrest in Italy as part of the same investigation.

Runners-up: In terms of missing votes, Romanian social-democrat MEP Claudiu Manda came in second, missing 43.6 percent of plenary votes. Manda, for his part, got tangled up in a criminal trial over corruption charges in 2021 until judges threw out the case this spring. He declined to comment.

He was followed by a couple of non-attached members, including Tamás Deutsch and András Gyürk of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party and Viktor Uspaskich of the Lithuanian populist Labor Party (DP), who all skipped between 32 and 34 percent of the votes.

Some lawmakers argued their absences could be explained because they were performing other duties during voting. “Every week, I attend official events related to my fields, like transportation, tourism, and healthcare, many of which coincide with the plenary weeks in Strasbourg,” said Hungarian Social Democrat István Ujhelyi, who ranks eighth on the list, adding that “the value and effectiveness of political work cannot be measured solely by voting participation.”

Chances of getting reelected: Lagos is currently in jail.

— Louise Guillot

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