In another effort to tap into the electorate's more conservative strand, the prime minister pledged on Monday that religious icons 'will not come down from walls in public areas'.

Antonis Samaras made his comments during a stop on his campaign trail at a mayor's office, of a small northwestern Greek town of Filata, with an icon hanging on its wall.

“These icons will never come down because the Greek people believe,” he said, looking up at the icon in the office.

And hinting at main opposition Syriza, he added that  “this will be the clearest answer to the one that dared to tell me that we must take down the icons.”

“I know where he belongs, I know which programme says this…These icons are never coming down”. 

Leftist Syriza has repeatedly called for a clearer demarcation between church and state in Greece, to the indignation of conservatives.

Last week the parliamentary spokesman of ruling New Democracy, Adonis Georgiadis, lashed out against Syriza member and Attica regional governor Rena Dourou for failing to attend a New Year's church service.

Georgiadis called the absence of Dourou -who took a non-religious oath when she was sworn in as governor – 'a disgrace'.