Two political outsiders win seats in the European Parliament through the viral influence of social media.


In a stunning turn of events, two unconventional figures have clinched seats in the European Parliament, propelled by their adept use of social media. One is Fidias Panayiotou, a 24-year-old YouTuber and TikToker from Cyprus known for his viral videos and lack of political experience. Despite no formal education and without the backing of any political party, Fidias secured one of Cyprus’s six seats, harnessing public discontent with the political establishment.

Embracing social media as his primary tool, Fidias garnered widespread support by presenting himself as a genuine voice amid perceived political insincerity. His campaign refrained from traditional political promises, focusing instead on authenticity and transparency, qualities he believes resonate more deeply with today’s electorate.

Across the Mediterranean, Alvise Pérez emerged as another unlikely political force in Spain’s European Parliament elections. A fringe figure associated with the far right, Alvise gained traction through his provocative stance against immigration and accusations of political corruption. Using platforms like Instagram and Telegram, he attracted attention and votes, leveraging anti-establishment sentiment to claim three of Spain’s parliamentary seats.

The success of Fidias and Alvise underscores a broader trend where social media acts as a catalyst for political outsiders. Steven Forti, a history professor at Barcelona’s Autonomous University, notes this phenomenon is not confined to Spain or Cyprus but reflects a global shift. He compares their rise to that of figures like Donald Trump and Javier Milei, whose unconventional paths to power were similarly fueled by digital platforms.

Fidias, with his 5 million followers across various social media platforms, transitioned seamlessly from online stunts to political aspirations, capitalizing on his popularity to challenge Cyprus’s entrenched political norms. His journey signifies a growing disillusionment with traditional politics, where social media offers a direct channel for citizens to express dissent and demand change.

Meanwhile, Alvise’s campaign, branded “The Party Is Over,” tapped into discontent with mainstream parties, aligning with a youthful, rebellious ethos symbolized by a cartoon squirrel donning a Guy Fawkes mask. His rhetoric on immigration and corruption struck a chord with voters disillusioned by establishment politics, despite drawing criticism from established parties like Spain’s Vox.

Critics warn of the risks posed by figures like Alvise, whose populist rhetoric can veer towards authoritarianism. His admiration for leaders like El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele and advocacy for stringent immigration policies highlight a broader challenge facing European democracies grappling with issues of integration and nationalism.

For Fidias, however, his unexpected political ascent represents a shift towards a more direct democracy, facilitated by social media’s ability to amplify individual voices. By engaging directly with constituents through interactive platforms, he believes in empowering voters beyond traditional media channels.

The implications of their victories are profound, signaling a transformative moment in European politics where digital subcultures and grassroots movements challenge established political hierarchies. As traditional parties reassess their strategies in the wake of these elections, the influence of social media on shaping political discourse and electoral outcomes is undeniable.

Looking ahead, both Fidias and Alvise will face scrutiny as they navigate their roles in the European Parliament. Their success underscores the evolving dynamics of modern democracy, where social media’s influence continues to redefine political engagement and representation in ways previously unimaginable.


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