24-Year-Old YouTuber Elected to European Parliament in Cyprus

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.10 - 2024 8:24 AM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
24-year-old YouTuber shocks Cyprus by winning a seat in the European Parliament.

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A 24-year-old influencer, Fidias Panayiotou, has been elected to the European Parliament as an independent candidate, securing one of the six seats allocated to Cyprus.

Election Results

The election saw the two main parties, the center-right Democratic Union (DISY) and the communist Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL), leading with forecasts predicting they would receive between 22.6% and 25.4% of the votes each.

Panayiotou, running as an independent, came in third place, with nearly one in five voters casting their ballot for him.

The far-right ELAM party also made headlines, winning a seat in the European Parliament for the first time.

Panayiotou’s Candidacy

Phidias Panayiotou announced his candidacy in April, with the initial goal of inspiring young people to engage in politics.

Despite his lack of political experience and knowledge, Panayiotou's campaign resonated with a large portion of the electorate.

With approximately 2.6 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Panayiotou gained popularity through various stunts, including a successful mission to hug Elon Musk.

His candidacy announcement in January included an admission that he had no prior knowledge of politics or the European Union but expressed a willingness to learn.

"I've never voted in my life, and one night I told myself that if I never vote and never care, the same nerds will always be in power, and I said, 'Enough!'" Panayiotou explained.

Broader Political Implications

According to Politico, Panayiotou's election reflects a growing trend of non-traditional candidates gaining political traction, particularly among younger voters.

His success is part of a broader shift in the European political landscape, where far-right and Eurosceptic parties have not managed to secure enough seats to challenge centrist forces.

The recent European Parliament elections also saw developments in other countries:

  • In France, Emmanuel Macron's party faced a disappointing outcome, leading the French president to dissolve parliament.

  • In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party experienced its worst-ever result in European Parliament elections, overshadowed by the emergence of political newcomer Peter Magyar.

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