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04th Jul 2016

Iceland’s new president watched Euro 2016 quarter-final with the fans

In the cheap seats and all.

Tom Victor

Throughout Iceland’s run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, we have heard many joke that it would be possible to fit the entire population of the country into France’s stadia.

The island nation’s population of less than 350,000 makes it one of the smallest countries in the world and the smallest to ever take part in the European Championships.

A huge proportion of the nation flocked to Saint-Denis for the quarter-final defeat to France, including incoming president Gudni Th. Jóhannesson.

Jóhannesson won election this year as an independent candidate, and will take office on August 1 after securing 39% of the vote last month.

But, rather than take his complimentary VIP seat, he opted to join his compatriots in the regular seats at the Stade de France.

Having seen outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron watch domestic matches from corporate seats up and down the country, it goes to show how different things are in Iceland.

Jóhannesson, a senior history lecturer at the University of Iceland, will become his country’s youngest ever president at the age of 48.

He is a champion of direct democracy and said during his campaign that a president “should be closely associated with the entire nation”.

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