Friday, April 19 2024
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Hellenic Parliament on the Tempe Tragedy: The session ended with empty benches

hellenic partliament empty

From the 300 Greek MPs that we have only 50 spoke about the report regarding the Tempe train tragedy that killed 57 people. The almost empty Hellenic Parliament was an image of shame but also indicative of how much the people we have elected "respect" and "honor" the memory of those killed.

Eva Metis Koutoumanou

Two of the absences yesterday were the most resounding. The absence of the country's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who did not attend the discussion of the Tempi report, as he attended an event for the delivery of three new Romeo MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to the Hellenic Navy, at the Kotroni Air Base, along with the Minister of Defence, Nikos Dendias.

And the absence of the central figure in question of the responsibility for the railway tragedy of Tempi, the New Democracy MP and former Minister of Infrastructure and Transport - at the time of the tragic railway accident - Kostas Ach. Karamanlis.

The image of the "blue" seats in the Hellenic Parliament was also disheartening. Empty. Almost the entire process, they remained empty since there were not many, on the contrary, there were very few, MPs of the ruling party, who attended the long debate, apart from the ND MPs who were registered in the list of speakers.

After all, the numbers are relentless. Of the 300 Greek MPs, only 50 spoke about the report, while only 20 out of the 158 ND MPs watched the Minister of State, Makis Voridis, the chairman of the Inquiry Committee, Dimitris Markopoulos and the majority rapporteur, Lazaros Tsavdaridis, confirm that the investigation did not reveal any indications of responsibilities of the minister Costas Ach. Karamanlis or any other political figure.

The emotionally intense meeting, however, was attended from the gallery by the relatives of the victims and by some survivors of the tragic Tempe disaster.

In contrast to the empty seats of MPs, relatives of the 57 victims along with survivors of the deadly accident in Tempi filled the gallery of the Greek Parliament in order to watch the session closely and see if the Prime Minister's commitment that "light will be shed on the tragedy and the guilty will be punished" was implemented.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to have happened.

Christos Konstantinidis, who lost his wife on the night of the tragedy, applauded ironically the President of the Committee of the Inquiry, Dimitris Markopoulos, who claimed that the best answer to the 57 families is "structural reform". "The inquiry is the third crime, namely the crime of cover-up. I think we are living it today," Mr. Konstantinidis said.

Among those who attended the discussion in the Parliament was also the survivor of the Tempe tragedy, Evdokia Tsagli, who commented on the absence of our politicians as well as the allegations heard during the speeches about the complete lack of evidence for the criminal responsibilities of political figures, saying "It was very disappointing after three months and knowing the facts to see this huge theater,  the great depreciation of human life."

The entire opposition accuses Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government of covering up responsibilities, unleashing strong "fire" against the "blue" report and targeting the prime minister by decrying his absence from the meeting, which they characterize as an admission of guilt.