He visited the crash site and gave a televised address, blaming “human error” for the accident while calling for a special committee of experts to investigate.
But critics have been merciless. Writing in liberal daily Kathimerini, columnist Pantelis Boukalas said the prime minister’s apology was “belated” and that some may suspect it was “guided by PR gurus”.
Left-wing daily Avgi said the premier’s “hollow” apology had “turned into tear gas against families at a peaceful protest demanding justice and truth”.
The prime minister and other politicians suspended election campaigning in the wake of the tragedy. There is now speculation that the polls could be delayed until May.
Mitsotakis has vowed to seek EU assistance to “finally” modernise the train network and called on the Supreme Court to investigate the tragedy as fast as possible.
“We all know the country’s railways are deeply problematic,” Mitsotakis said.
There is little sign, however, that public anger is easing. Last weekend, football fans around the country hurled insults at the prime minister during matches.
Political life will resume on Thursday after a period of national mourning, but the prime minister seems in no rush to confront the issue of the looming polls.
Asked on Monday when Mitsotakis will set an election date, government spokesman Yiannis Economou replied: “At this stage, this issue is not on the prime minister’s mind at all.”