History professor Gudni Johannesson won Iceland’s presidential election after riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, final results showed Sunday, although the vote was eclipsed by the country’s eagerly-anticipated Euro football match.
The political newcomer, who won with 39.1 percent of votes, was trailed by businesswoman Halla Tomasdottir, also without party affiliation, who took 29.4 percent, according to results announced on public television channel RUV.
Johannesson only decided to run for the presidency after the so-called Panama Papers leak in April which detailed offshore accounts and implicated several senior Icelandic politicians, including the prime minister who was forced to resign.
Throughout the campaign, Johannesson emphasized his non-partisan vision of the presidency, and vowed to restore faith in the political system after years of public anger toward politicians over scandals and financial woes.
The victory was especially sweet for the history professor and political commentator, who has never held public office and has no party affiliation, as he celebrated his 48th birthday Sunday.
David Oddsson, a former conservative prime minister who had been Johannesson’s closest rival throughout most of the campaign, garnered just 13 percent of votes.