The conservative Greek government today blamed the leftist Syriza party for having delayed improvements to the rail network when it was in power (2015-2019) which, it said, could have prevented the train crash in which 57 people died on February 28 .
The Minister of Transport, Yorgos Yerapetritis, assured that when the transfer of power took place, in 2019, none of the security mechanisms provided for in a contract signed in 2014 had yet been installed, and that it has not yet been fully executed. .
In an appearance before a parliamentary commission, he indicated that the signaling and other additional systems had been installed in only 17 of the 52 stations provided for in the contract.
The same thesis was maintained by Konstantinos Karamanlis, who resigned as Transport Minister hours after the accident, although he did say that he assumes "part of the political responsibility" for the tragedy.
The commission focused on investigating why the so-called 717 contract, signed in 2014 by the state railway company (OSE) to install a series of automated security measures on the Athens-Thessaloniki section, where the attack occurred, has not yet been fully executed. accident.
According to Karamanlis, when he assumed the Transport portfolio in 2019, 32% of the contract had been executed and only 18% had received the relevant certifications so that the systems could come into operation. "We received a stagnant work," argued the former minister, who pointed out that work resumed in 2019 and that 70% of the security systems have already been installed.
Despite this, the Government has recognized that in the specific section to the north of the city of Larisa, where the accident occurred, the systems had not been installed.
Syriza has been accusing the government of the prime minister, the conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, for days, of trying to get rid of responsibility by blaming former executives, the railway workers accused of the tragedy and the "chronic deficiencies of the Greek state".
While the opposition as a whole asked that workers' representatives also testify before the commission, the government rejected the request.
The Railway Regulatory Authority (RAS) published a report last Friday stating that 73 station managers who were temporarily hired under the current government received "deficient preparation" by OSE before assuming their positions.
Among them was the station manager who has admitted to the Prosecutor's Office that he put the passenger train on the same track on which a freight train was circulating, which caused its head-on collision minutes later that left 57 victims.
So far, he and three other officials have been charged with "negligent homicide" and other crimes that could carry a sentence of between ten years and life in prison.
The tragedy has caused a wave of public indignation with strikes and massive protests almost daily, as well as a drop in the polls of the government party, the conservative New Democracy, in the polls ahead of the elections that will probably be held on May 21th.
The latest polls give New Democracy three points over the leftist Syriza, half what it was before the accident.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project