MPs rejected a motion of censure against the Mitsotakis government

The Greek prime minister was applauded in parliament by representatives of his camp after a vote of confidence following the censure resolution.
Louisa Vradi/REUTERS

The Greek parliament on Thursday rejected a motion of censure against the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, accused by the opposition of concealing political responsibility for the 2023 train disaster. One hundred and fifty-nine deputies voted against the motion. Pazok was particularly supported by the main left-wing opposition party, SYRIZA, with 141. The prime minister's right-wing New Democracy party has an absolute majority in the unitary parliament, so its defeat is not in doubt.

On February 28, 2023, attacked for his administration of what was considered a disaster of conflict that left 57 dead and shocked the entire country, Mr. Mitsotakis assured him there was nothing. “Never a cover order” Political Responsibilities. “I'll look you in the eye and tell you”He insisted.

As he recently described this accident “National Shock”, “Long-term failures of government have been met with human error.”He underlined, confirming that he meant it “the truth” A facing one “A distrustful and angry society”. Just before the vote, dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of parliament, displaying a large black banner that specifically read: “We are not forgetting anything – we are asking for justice”.

Fierce debates

Over two days, almost two nights, intense debates, accusations of negligence and criminality were leveled at the government. “We refuse to accept the continuation of corruption, cover-ups and impunity”Pasok president Nikos Androulakis underlined. “Ninety percent of society doesn't trust you or trust you, and that's what got us here today.”Socrates Famellus, head of the SYRIZA Parliamentary Committee, which describes the train wreck, promised. “crime”.

The audit motion was filed on Tuesday after it emerged from the Sunday newspaper du Vima that recordings of conversations between the station manager and the train drivers on the evening of the accident had been manipulated to support a thesis of human error. Kyriakos Mitsotakis invited this article “wrong”. “Aren't you ashamed to say (these conversations are edited)?”. For a year, political leaders supported by the families of the victims and a section of civil society have been denouncing the gross negligence at the origin of the accident.

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Unacceptable defects

A head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight vehicle came to light “Unacceptable Deficiencies in the Safety of Greek Railways”According to the text of the censure motion, particularly the considerable delays Greece has taken in modernizing its signaling systems. “The criminal oligarchy included (…) an equally criminal and systematic effort to cover up the affair”, the speech also continues to smear former transport minister Kostas Karamanlis, who resigned the day after the disaster. Speaking in Parliament, the latter, a deputy, promised: “If anyone has genuine allegations against me with evidence, (…) let him bring them”.

For months, a coalition of victims' families, Mr. It is demanding the removal of parliamentary immunity from Karamanlis and his left-wing predecessor, Christos Spirtzis. In the European Parliament, the group's representative, Maria Cristiano, also blamed the government “hiding”. So far, more than 30 railway employees have been booked in this case, but no high-ranking ones. The station master of Larissa, the nearest town to the crash, about 300 km northwest of Athens, has been remanded in pre-trial detention. “Negligent Homicide”.

The conflict caused great anger among the Greeks, who took to the streets en masse. The day after the tragedy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the tragedy “A tragic human error” He also emphasized that it is justice to shed light on this matter. On February 28, amid anger and tears, some 30,000 demonstrators demonstrated again to commemorate the crash.

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