Albania's president has filed a defamation suit against the mayor of the country's capital.

President Bujar Nishani, elected to Parliament in 2012 as a member of the then-governing center-right Democratic Party and now in opposition, sued Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj on Thursday. Veliaj has accused him on a talk show of using his powers to change ownership of a Catholic Church property in the central city of Elbasan to his family.

Veliaj, who was elected last year, belongs to the governing left-wing Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Though formally apolitical since getting the post, Nishani has been in a continuous conflict with the governing Socialists since they came to power in 2013.

The president's mandate ends in 2017 when the country will vote in parliamentary elections too.