Political turmoil erupts in Greece over Tempi tampering allegations

Mar 25, 2024

A storm of controversy has erupted following allegations of tampering with audio recordings related to the tragic Tempi railway disaster.

Dubbed “The montage in Tempe casts new shadows on tragedy” by the Vima on Sunday newspaper, the report alleges that recordings between railway employees were manipulated to shift blame onto the Larissa station master for the disaster that claimed 57 lives.

Government officials swiftly denied these claims, asserting that complete sets of unaltered recordings exist from the fateful night. They argue that the newspaper’s assertions are not groundbreaking, as some media outlets had previously highlighted discrepancies in the transcripts shortly after the incident. The government further emphasised that the station master had already confessed to his role in the events.

The Citizen Protection Ministry, which has oversight over the police, said that its “service did not make a transcript for the case in question.”

The Tempi train accident took place on March 2, 2023. Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP via Getty Images.

New Democracy said that the “tactic of misleading headlines to create impressions is extremely dangerous.”

However, opposition parties point to the fact that the edited conversations were leaked to media on March 1, 2023, a day before they were handed over to the judicial authorities.

Main opposition SYRIZA said that “the new revelations about the attempt to cover up the crime of Tempe by the New Democracy government… have caused revulsion,” adding that the government faces “relentless questions” over the affair.

The SYRIZA party has called for elections as a decisive measure to resolve the country’s political crisis. However, they have also thrown their weight behind the PASOK party’s proposal to table a vote of no confidence against the government.

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Opposition parties have condemned the government’s handling of the situation, with Nikos Androulakis of PASOK labeling the incident a “continuous crime.”

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has pledged its support for the proposed vote of no confidence, citing ongoing criticism of the government’s policies. Additionally, the Greek Solution party has also declared its backing for the motion.

With indications suggesting that the constitutional threshold of 50 members required for such a proposal will be surpassed, the stage is set for a heated debate in parliament. According to constitutional rules, once a no-confidence motion is submitted, discussions must commence within two days, with a vote expected within three days.

Sources: Ekathimerini and To Pontiki.

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