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.