• 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
Sweden loses fastest internet crown
Good luck untangling those. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman /SvD /TT

Worse still, the new European king is Norway.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden tonight
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

The Local List
These are the brands Swedes love the most
What brands do the Swedes love the most? Photo: Per Groth/Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/Pontus Lundahl/TT

Revealed: Swedes' top-20 favourite brands.

Spotify launches new karaoke style streaming in Japan
Can karaoke help Spotify to crack Japan? Photo: DocChewbacca/Flickr creative commons

The Swedish streaming giant has taken inspiration from Japan's love of karaoke with its launch in the country.

US rappers' gig ends in 'bloodbath' in Stockholm
US rapper Ghostface Killah. Photo: Scott Roth/Invision/AP

A man ran onto the stage during a concert by US rappers Ghostface Killah and Killah Priest in Stockholm.

Border checks
Could Sweden's border controls soon be lifted?
The border control at the Swedish side of the Öresund Bridge to Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

The EU-approved six-month extension of controls in the south of the country will soon come to an end.

'Homemade bomb' on bus in Sweden was bike helmet
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A bicycle helmet sparked a bomb scare on a bus in Uppsala.

What's on in Sweden
Four don't-miss festivals in Sweden this week
Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. Photo: Stockholm Öl & Vin AB

Arab cinema, Gay Pride, out-of-the-box art, whisky and craft beer – what more could a person in Sweden possibly need?

Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,960
jobs available