• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden mourns death of Anna Lindh ten years on

10 Sep 2013, 15:33

Published: 10 Sep 2013 15:33 GMT+02:00

For Swedes, September 11th 2003 is a date etched in their memory much like November 22nd 1963 is for Americans. Lindh, who was 46 when she was killed, was minister for foreign affairs and widely tipped to become Sweden's first female prime minister.

"Of course Anna Lindh would have succeeded me," said then Prime Minister Göran Persson in a new SVT documentary about Lindh.

IN PICTURES: See the life and times of Anna Lindh

But the events of September 10th and 11th changed all that and plunged her party, the Social Democrats, into a crisis from which they've arguably never recovered.

Lindh was stabbed while shopping for clothes in a Stockholm department store by Mijailo Mijailovic, a then 24-year-old Serb who has since renounced his Swedish citizenship. She succumbed to her injuries the following day in the first political assassination in Sweden since Olof Palme was gunned down in 1986.

Mijailovic, who stabbed Lindh repeatedly in the arms, chest and abdomen, had a history of psychiatric problems and claimed during his three trials that voices in his head told him to attack.

He later claimed he had made that up, and said he invoked the "nonsense" claim in the hopes of avoiding prison by being declared mentally unstable.

"I didn't hear voices. That was nothing but empty talk," Mijailovic, who is serving a life sentence, told the Expressen newspaper.

In a new documentary about Lindh to be aired on SVT on the 10th anniversary of her death, Persson admits he'd made his mind up on that fateful September 10th day that he was going to resign in 2004 with Lindh his chosen successor.

"Anna had got herself into a position in the party where she was a very bright shining star," said Mona Sahlin, who took over from Persson instead, and led the party during its disappointing 2010 election loss.

"It's not that the party would have taken a dramatically different direction or that Sweden would have been different. But it would have been a chance for the first woman leader, if she had started as prime minister, to be in a situation where she was regarded as increasingly obvious (to win the 2006 election)," said Sahlin.

IN PICTURES: See Monday's memorial service in central Stockholm

Lindh's death meant Persson, who described her murder as "beyond belief", led the Social Democrats into the 2006 election defeat before stepping down in 2007.

"Sweden has lost one of its most important representatives. It feels unreal, it is difficult to truly understand," said Persson in the wake of his colleague's murder.

Much like Palme's murder 17 years earlier, Lindh wasn't protected by Sweden's security service (Säpo) which considered her to be a low-risk target. Palme famously refused bodyguard protection on the night of his death.

The agency has since said they have learnt from Lindh's assassination with increased security now the norm for all prominent Swedish politicians.

SVT's documentary, made by Tom Alandh, also reveals her concerns for her family, and in particular her two sons.

However, those fears are unlikely to have deterred her from pursuing the highest office in the land according to a former colleague.

"She spoke reluctantly about it and that of what it could mean for the boys. Had she been asked (to be prime minister) then I think she would have been up for it," said Jan Eliasson, former Swedish ambassador to the United States in the documentary.

Story continues below…

A memorial service for Anna Lindh took place in Katarina's church in Stockholm's Södermalm on Monday, attended by former prime minister Ingvar Carlsson, Mona Sahlin, and Benny Andersson from Abba. (See pictures from Monday's memorial)

On Wednesday there will be an evening in her honour for the public taking place in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm, opposite the shopping mall Lindh was fatally attacked, starting at 6:30pm. Among those attending will be current Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Social Democratic leader Stefan Löfven, and former party

leader Mona Sahlin, with music provided by the Benny Andersson orchestra.

The SVT documentary "Anna Lindh 1957-2003" will air on September 11th at 8pm on SVT 1.

TT/The Local/pr/AFP

Follow The Local on Twitter

Related links:

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
IN PICTURES
Fire rips through apartment block, 157 homes evacuated
The fire on Sunday night. Photo: Anna Hållams/TT

There's a risk the whole building could collapse, emergency services say.

Say 'hej hej hej' to some Swedish sunshine
Stockholmers enjoying a previous spring heatwave in 2014. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

UPDATED: Temperatures are set to top 20C in parts of Sweden this week.

'This would not have happened if I was white'
Yasri Khan. Photo: Marc Femenia/SCANPIX

Former Swedish Muslim politician explains reluctance to shake hands with women as "about my struggle to be allowed to be myself".

Teen boy in sex assault at Swedish asylum home
Silbodalshemmet, the large asylum centre in Årjäng, Värmland. Police have not yet named the centre. Photo: Google Maps

Five men have been arrested after a teenage boy was assaulted.

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden is famous for work-life balance. So what do startups do to make sure expat employees are happy with life in Stockholm?

My Swedish Career
Meet the expat who is now Sweden's youngest PhD
Stefan Buijsman. Photo: Anna-Karin Landin

Stefan Buijsman, 20, just finished a PhD in the philosophy of mathematics. He tells The Local what his work is all about, and why Stockholm was the best place to do it.

Border checks
Sweden fights for EU border controls to stay
Checks on passengers at Kastrup airport in Copenhagen, close to the border with Sweden. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

The Nordic nation is among six countries asking the European Commission to extend temporary border controls.

Swedish premier pledges 5,000 'emergency' jobs
Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, speaking in Gothenburg. Photo: TT

Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, speaking in Gothenburg, announced a initiative to create 5,000 new 'emergency' jobs for new arrivals to the country.

Sweden's king celebrates on his 70th birthday
King Carl XVI Gustaf joins in with a rendition of All You Need Is Love with the Tensta Gospel Choir and their leader Cedwin Sandanam. Photo: TT

But Norwegian royals stay at home after deadly helicopter crash.

'Disgusted' Swedish boxer retains world crown
Badou Jack (right) catches Lucian Bute with a right-hand. Photo: TT

Badou Jack drew bout but kept World Boxing Council title.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
National
How Sweden's fake 'smombie' traffic sign is being used for real
Culture
Sweden's Tarzan drops trousers
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 9th-10th
3,230
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se