Chalkidiki Pro-Mining Mayor Loses Ballot

Skouries ProtestersAn all-night vote count local elections in the Aristotelis municipality of Chalkidiki ended on Monday morning with Giannis Michos getting a slim majority over Christos Pachtas.

A member of the Skouries Movement, Michos collected 8,031 votes with 51.79% over mayor Pachtas, who garnered 7,374 votes (46.95%). Giannis Trikaliotis won just 1.92% of the vote.

Pachtas has been controversial in his support for the gold mining project in Skouries, with little regard for the environmental consequences and despite fierce local and political opposition. The newly elected mayor has promised to hold talks with the Greek government along with local officials, businessmen, experts, mining workers and other relevant bodies to find a just and viable solution to the mining issue and to promote development in the municipality.

After the election result was declared, many residents of Skouries took to the streets, shouting slogans against the current mayor and the Greek government.

Back in 2011, Vancouver-based mining company, Eldorado Gold Corporation, having acquired most of the old mining industry in Aristotelis, announced plans for a 1 billion euros gold mining project that would generate thousands of new jobs.

The investment however, triggered mass protests in Skouries. Residents have been opposing it mainly for environmental reasons, claiming that the new project would further pollute the region and the required deforestation for the expansion of the facilities would completely destroy the natural habitat and the beauty of the region. Some of them also highlighted the dramatic impact of such a facility on the tourism industry of Chalkidiki.

The project’s approval by the then Greek government sparked social and political turmoil and major clashes with the police and a “civil” war between the residents in favor and against the project. Numerous protesters were arrested and prosecuted and many were injured and tear-gassed by the riot police trying to stop the demonstrations.


  1. The citizens of Ouranoupolis are at best populists and mostly uneducated farmers.Ignore them and continue as we need the money now.We must not allow a bunch of hooligans to dictate policy.If they did not want this they should not be steeling from their country.But there is an alternative.Stop their pensions and cut their salaries to pay the lenders.We are living on borrowed money. we all have to make sacrifices including the environment.

  2. “including the environment.” then we’ve already lost. Greece’s beauty is an asset that we should NEVER compromise on

    we shouldn’t have to be making sacrifices at gun point especially since the majority (85% +) of the bailout does not go to pensions and salaries but to pay off foreign creditors ie their insolvent financial institutions. this is not a bailout of Greece. Greece is only being used as the pass through conduit vehicle to bailout northern Europe/Germany and the bad bets they made so that they can avoid the stigma of receiving a direct bailout. we must never forget that