New Democracy’s candidate for Athens mayor Aris Spiliotopoulos on Wednesday said he was giving up his parliamentary seat ahead of local elections in May.
“When you give your soul for Athens, you can only resign from Parliament,” Spiliotopoulos said during the official launch of his “Athens, You Can” campaign.
Spiliotopoulos, a former tourism minister, will be replaced by Tania Iakovidou, a journalist and chairwoman of the National Center of Social Solidarity.
Ex-Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou had been the first name on the list to replace Spiliotopoulos, but he turned down the seat after being recently appointed president of state-controlled and soon-to-be-privatized Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).
“I have chosen to honor the mission that was assigned to me,” Papanthanasiou said in a statement.
SYRIZA’s Rena Dourou, who is competing to become Attica governor, was the first local elections contender to quit her seat in Parliament earlier this month.
On Wednesday, Dourou filed charges against ND lawmakers Argyris Dinopoulos for defamation. Speaking recently on Star TV, the conservative MP claimed that Dourou had worked as an adviser to Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a former Socialist minister who was convicted last year of accepting bribes while serving as defense minister.
Dourou is seeking 260,000 euros in damages.