golden dawn
Supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party during a rally in Athens.Reuters

Greece's far-right party Golden Dawn is to run in May's local and European elections under a different name to circumvent a possible ban, a lawmaker with the party said.

Spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris told a 3,000-strong crowd of supporters that a new party named National Dawn will replace Golden Dawn if authorities go ahead with plans to exclude the neo-Nazi party from the ballots.

"Patriots will have a party to vote for in the next election if [authorities] go ahead with the coup to ban Golden Dawn," he said.

Kasidiaris is among a number of Golden Dawn lawmakers who are facing trial in Athens on charges of participating in a criminal organisation.

A third of the party's 18 lawmakers, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos and deputy chief Christos Pappa, have been held in pre-trial detention since a crackdown on the far-right group that followed the killing of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas.

"We will contest the elections, whatever happens. Greek patriots have founded National Dawn, which does not include the Golden Dawn 'murderers,'" Kasidiaris, who is running for mayor of Athens said.

They put us in jail. And what happened? Did we falter? No, we did not. We are stronger, we are more powerful and in a short time we will be in power."

Golden Dawn has made substantial gains from Greece's deep economic crisis, blaming the country's large immigrant population as one of the causes.

The party gained almost 7% of preferences in the two elections in 2012 and is now polling between 8 and 10%.

It has been blamed for a raise in hate crimes, prompting calls for it to be banned.