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British far-right leader steps down

AFP-JIJI

Nick Griffin has stepped down as leader of the British National Party, the far-right group announced Monday, following disastrous results at the European Parliament elections.

Griffin, 55, stepped aside at a party leadership meeting after nearly 15 years in charge of the anti-immigration group, which campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union.

Having won 6.3 percent of the vote in 2009, the party polled just over 1 percent in May’s European elections, with Griffin losing his seat, the only one the party held.

The BNP also lost the majority of its seats in parallel elections to English local authorities.

Recently-appointed Deputy Chairman Adam Walker has taken over as acting chairman, while Griffin has taken up the newly-created position of party president.

“The full national executive are united in their support for Adam in this role,” a statement said

The party’s electoral decline has coincided with the rise of Nigel Farage’s anti-immigration and anti-EU U.K. Independence Party.

Griffin is a Cambridge University law graduate who had led the party since 1999 and helped it secure its best-ever performances at the polls. He was declared bankrupt earlier this year.

He visited Syria last year at the invitation of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.