Cyprus reprints election ballots in Guinness flap

January 30, 2013 - 12:31 PM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus has been forced to reprint all 575,000 ballot slips for next month's presidential election after Guinness World Records objected to a candidate's use of its logo, officials said Wednesday.

The government will ask Andreas Efstratiou to pay at least €15,000 ($20,000) to cover reprinting costs, election commission official Demetris Demetriou told state-run Cyprus News Agency.

Demetriou said Guinness had initially permitted Efstratiou to use the logo in his second presidential run in 2008. Efstratiou, who runs a bridal wear shop, earned a Guinness Book of World Records entry for creating the longest wedding gown train at 1,362 meters (4,468 feet) in 2007. He no longer holds the record, which now belongs to Lichel van den Ende of the Netherlands for a 2,488-meter (8,164-foot) train.

But Guinness told Efstratiou to stop using the logo in 2011 and complained to Cypriot authorities when it recently found out that he had used it again.

Efstratiou said he thought Guinness was being unfair, saying he believes he still can be called a record-holder despite not holding the current title.

"I've used this logo before several times," he told The Associated Press. "I can use it since I'm a record-holder, I've got the paperwork to prove it.

"If an athlete wins a medal at the Olympics, do they take it back?"

He added that his supporters are upset and that he would talk to his lawyer to see what action could be taken.

Efstratiou has run for president twice before in 2003 and 2008, winning less than 1,000 votes in each vote. Cyprus has a population of around 900,000.