Alexis Tsipras: Tempi Train Collision the Result of an Ineffective State

ATHENS – SYRIZA ruled for four years, during hard years with memoranda, but did not create “this ineffective state,” SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said during an interview on Tuesday night.

At the main newscast of Mega TV, Tsipras told journalists Rania Tzima and Yiannis Pretenteris, “We ruled for four years, among the toughest ones, with the loan memoranda. This state without meritocracy, a clientelistic one, based on special favors and ineffective, was not our creation. But we have the responsibility of correcting it.”

The main opposition leader referred to the Tempi train collision that killed 57 people and injured dozens of others on Feb. 28, saying that the accident “had no excuse. For 12 minutes, two trains were travelling on the same line toward each other, while there was a double track.” The result is that the average person sees that the state, set up the way it is, cannot guarantee basic safety to the Greek citizens, he underlined.

Up to 2019, Tsipras said, there was a control tower on trains, which was destroyed by fire in the summer of 2019. “This government has directly handed out contracts worth 10 billion euros. Couldn’t it have one restore the operation of the remote control management center in Larissa?”

Asked whether Syriza accepted any responsibility for the state of the railroad network during his tenure as prime minister, Tsipras responded, “I have not been at odds with responsibility. I assumed and still assume responsibility, but only the part that corresponds to me.” He added that his government assumed responsibility at critical times for crises that did not relate to their actions.

“In 2015 I assumed the responsibility to ensure Greece did not go bankrupt, and I was accused of doing an about-face. Later I assumed the responsibility of doing what I believed was patriotic in the country’s interest, and became the focus of criticism over the Prespes agreement. I assumed responsibility also for tragedies that I experienced, with loss of life, which however did not have man-made causes, they were natural catastrophes, but I was in [a place of] responsibility and assumed it,” he said.

Among other issues, Tsipras said of Supreme Court chief prosecutor Issidoros Dogiakos, supervising the Tempi case file, that “his son was a transfer employee of the minister who is now being judged by society,” and said in his place he would have resigned. He also called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to announce when elections would be held. “This game must stop. Any discussion about holding elections July or August is humiliating for our democracy,” he insisted.


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