Greek PM faces no-confidence vote after 2023 train crash

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's government confronts a no-confidence vote on Thursday following criticism over its handling of a train collision last year, which claimed the lives of 57 individuals, amidst recent media reports suggesting evidence manipulation.

Publication: 28.03.2024 - 15:58
Greek PM faces no-confidence vote after 2023 train crash
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Opposition parties from the left submitted a censure motion against the conservative administration this week, accusing it of attempting to conceal the truth after a cargo train collided head-on with a passenger train in central Greece, marking the nation's deadliest accident.

While the government refutes any wrongdoing and is anticipated to withstand the vote due to its majority in parliament, the motion underscores persistent public anger over a catastrophe that underscored decades of negligence and mismanagement, imperilling railway safety standards. Experts note minimal improvements since then.

"Like every Greek citizen, we seek transparency," stated Nikos Androulakis, leader of the centre-left PASOK party, addressing parliament on Wednesday.

A judicial inquiry is ongoing and is slated for completion in the forthcoming months. Authorities have pressed charges against numerous individuals implicated in the crash, including a station master currently in custody awaiting trial.

To Vima newspaper reported last Saturday that an audio recording between the station master and the train conductor, leaked to the media shortly after the incident, was purportedly edited to attribute blame to human error rather than systemic issues within the railway network.

Reuters could not independently verify these claims.

Investigators hired by relatives of the victims have also asserted that the rapid removal of charred carriages from the accident site and the application of gravel may have compromised evidence. Greece lacked a functional national investigative body for such incidents at the time of the collision.

Victims' families have launched a petition to amend century-old regulations shielding politicians from prosecution, amassing over 1.3 million signatures to date.

Mitsotakis's New Democracy party, leading in opinion polls, alleges that the opposition is leveraging the situation for political gain. Justice Minister George Floridis dismissed the allegations as a "smear campaign based on falsehoods and deceit."

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