NEWS

Greek lawmakers to debate censure motion over snowstorm

Greek lawmakers to debate censure motion over snowstorm

Greek lawmakers are to begin a three-day debate on Friday on a censure motion brought by the main opposition party against the government over its handling of a severe snowstorm earlier in the week that left thousands of drivers stranded on major roads in the Greek capital and knocked out power to some areas for days.

The motion brought by the left-wing SYRIZA opposition party is unlikely to pass as the governing conservative New Democracy party holds a comfortable majority of 157 seats in the 300-member parliament. The motion would require an absolute majority to pass. The debate is to start Friday afternoon, with a vote expected Sunday night.

Monday’s storm dumped large amounts of snow on Athens and several other areas of Greece, with snow falling even on Aegean islands.

In the Greek capital, the army was called out to assist thousands of drivers who became trapped on a tollway connecting Athens to the country’s main airport. Many were forced to spend the night in their cars in freezing temperatures after trucks jackknifed and blocked the road, while others were trapped on a major Athens avenue for hours. Many cars were not using snow chains, leading to vehicles skidding.

Several neighborhoods of Athens were left without power for days after trees fell onto power lines.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis offered a “personal and sincere apology,” but blamed the private company operating the tollway for not being prepared for the conditions and mishandling the reaction to the storm. [AP]