Incumbent Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis on Thursday attacked New Democracy’s mayoral candidate Aris Spiliotopoulos for suggesting that a mosque should be build outside the municipality of Athens.
“Spiliotopoulos should have thought about all that before his ministry signed the deal about the mosque’s construction [in Votanikos],” Kaminis told Skai, accusing the former minister of education and religious affairs of engaging in politically expedient posturing ahead of the first-round municipal election on Sunday.
“You can’t so opportunistically change positions overnight,” Kaminis said suggesting that his conservative challenger was seeking to lure votes from the far right.
Ilias Kasidiaris of the ultranationalist, xenophobic Golden Dawn party is also running for the post.
During his campaign, Spiliotopoulos, also a former tourism minister, has argued that Athens does not need “another pole for illegal immigration” and repeatedly called for a referendum on plans to construct a mosque in the city.
The government has agreed to build a mosque on land belonging to the Hellenic Navy in Votanikos, near central Athens. Last year, it awarded the 946,000 euro construction contract to a private consortium. Work on the building was expected to commence early this year.