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Society

Most Greeks Believe Government Cover-up of Deadly Train Accident

ATHENS – While holding leads as high as 20 percent in surveys, most Greeks believe the ruling New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is trying to hide the reasons behind a February, 2023 head-on train crash that killed 57.

An Alco poll conducted on behalf of private broadcaster Alpha showed that 77 percent of respondents also don’t believe government assertions the railways have been made safer, with indications that promised measures haven’t been implemented.

The government is keeping an investigation secret, with no reports of progress more than a year later, and a parliamentary committee controlled by New Democracy lawmakers also won’t let the public know of its discussions, leading some rival parties to walk out.

Only the stationmaster on duty, with little training and on the job only a few days, has been charged, along with a handful of railway executives, not including any from the Italian company which runs the railways, long having a dubious reputation.

Mitsotakis has vowed that all those found guilty will be held responsible but none have been prosecuted yet and he exempted then transport minister Kostas Karamanlis from any blame – then put him on the New Democracy ticket for Parliament and was elected.

Karamanlis also said the crash, that killed many students en route from Athens to Thessaloniki at the end of the carnival period, was the fault of underlings and those on duty at the time and took no responsibility other than resigning.

Only 9 percent of those surveyed that there has been a thorough accounting so far of the accident and 14 percent didn’t answer. Only 11 percent said no politicians were responsible for the accident or involved in a coverup.

On the question of whether they had any trust or faith in the justice system’s ability to punish the guilty parties, 38 percent said not at all and 29 percent only a little while a combination of 27 percent they did.

And 46 percent said they were not satisfied with the government’s performance despite the Conservatives having a huge lead over the major opposition SYRIZA, and the PASOK Socialists, who have surpassed the Leftists in polls.

Curiously, while there has been chaos in SYRIZA under the new leadership of Stefanos Kasselakis that saw a dozen dissidents break off and form the New Left party and almost open rebellion, 47 percent the party was neither stronger nor weaker under him.

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