Fidias Panayiotou, the 24-year-old, proudly apolitical YouTuber and TikToker with a natural talent for self-publicity, completely dominated Sunday’s elections for the European parliament. His independent candidacy, which offered literally nothing to voters, secured the third biggest share of the votes – more than Elam, Diko, Edek, Dipa, Volt, the Greens and several smaller groupings. His 19.4 per cent share of the votes was, in fact, only two percentage points less than Akel’s, a party with tight organisation and a very broad support network.

Never before has an independent candidate secured such a big share of the vote. What is even more astonishing is that he achieved this without spending any money. We saw no billboards with his face, there were no advertisements on radio, websites or in newspapers, but the daily streaming of his phone-ins through You Tube, which predated the election campaign, built him a strong following among the politically disinterested young, who thought he was a laugh and considered him one of them.

Commentators wasted no time to conclude that his success was the result of people’s low regard for the parties and the political system, which is what they always seem say after an election with a low turnout. Sunday’s turnout was at 50.5 per cent, a little higher than that for the previous European elections, although this could be attributed to the holding of local government elections simultaneously. And nobody can say yet how much support Fidias secured from disaffected party voters. Initial analyses suggest that he took votes from the young whom, it is said, he had persuaded to register.

The problem is more general than the alleged low regard people have for the parties. What is more worrying and should concern all people who take an interest in public matters is the political apathy of the younger generation. Most of the young, who see the world through TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook have no interest in politics and they voted for someone who shares this outlook, who has no political views or ideas about anything and is proud of it. It helped him that he was standing in European elections, the outcome of which has no real impact on people’s lives.

How different is the Fidias phenomenon from the current trend of politicians, who have built careers on social media by avoiding saying anything of substance and taking a stand on controversial issues? We are in an apolitical era in which blandness and appearance can get a politician very far, an era in which lack of substance is an asset. Fidias took this approach to its logical extreme, not even pretending he can think and act politically. And one fifth of the people who voted on Sunday gave their approval to the apolitical candidate.