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Fat, flightless parrot named Bird of the Year after a campaign tainted by voter fraud

November 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A Kakapo, the worlds most endangered flightless parrot, Anchor Island, Fiordland New Zealand.

A lengthy and bitter election campaign that dragged in competing interest groups and was sullied by a voter fraud scandal came to an unlikely end on Monday, when a fat, flightless and nocturnal parrot stunned pundits to claim an upset victory.

London (CNN)A lengthy and bitter election campaign that dragged in competing interest groups and was sullied by a voter fraud scandal came to an unlikely end on Monday, when a fat, flightless and nocturnal parrot stunned pundits to claim an upset victory.

The kakapo, officially the world's heaviest parrot, won New Zealand's Bird of the Year vote after a weeks-long campaign that rivaled human political contests in intensity.

It became the first bird to win the contest for a second time -- a feat not explicitly prohibited by the country's constitution -- and snatched victory thanks to the competition's unique and convoluted voting system, having lost the outright popular vote to the Antipodean albatross.

"In a stunning upset the kākāpō swoops in from behind to claw the title of #BirdOfTheYear 2020 away from competition front-runner," Forest & Bird, the environmental group that organizes the annual contest, announced on social media on Monday, with a nod to CNN's coverage of another high-profile election race.

"It's been a tight race throughout the election period, but @team_kakapo Kākāpō snatched victory from the beak of defeat and overtaken us in the instant-runoff voting at the end," the "Albatross for Bird of the Year" campaign wrote on Twitter.

Organizers said more than 55,000 people voted in the competition, which is ostensibly used to highlight the plight of New Zealand's endangered bird species but frequently leads to partially tongue-in-cheek tussles between campaigns and attempts at vote-rigging.

"Unfortunately, many of New Zealand's native birds are in trouble and need your help," Forest & Bird wrote when announcing the winner.

The competition came weeks after New Zealand's general election, which was won more comfortably by incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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