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Slain foreign minister poised for bright future in Sweden

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2003

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was an outspoken human rights advocate who was touted by many in Sweden as a future candidate for prime minister.

Ms. Lindh, 46, died Thursday (Sept. 12, 2003) after being stabbed multiple times in a downtown Stockholm department store. She underwent more than 10 hours of surgery for severe internal bleeding and injuries to her liver and stomach, doctors said.

"Anna Lindh has left us. The family has lost a mother and wife. Social Democracy has lost one of its most skillful politicians," Prime Minister Goeran Persson said. "The government has lost a competent politician and a good working colleague. Sweden has lost its face against the world."

For Swedes, her death rekindled memories of the Feb. 28, 1986, murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme, which remains unsolved.

Lindh, one of the Scandinavian country's most popular politicians, was a top member of the ruling Social Democratic party. She also was one of the Swedish government's leading figures in the campaign to persuade the country's 9-million residents to adopt the euro.

Persson chose her to lead the Foreign Ministry in 1998, and Ms. Lindh moved quickly to put her stamp on the position.

She was outspoken on several international issues, voicing her opposition to the recent war in Iraq and urging the Israelis and Palestinians to stop their violence and start negotiating.

Ms. Lindh also garnered a reputation as a fierce and dedicated proponent of human rights.

She chided President Bush as a "lone ranger" for his decision to unilaterally invade Iraq without U.N. approval.

Lisa Nilsson, a 24-year-old nurse, called Ms. Lindh a role model for young women who want careers and family.

"She showed that it's possible to achieve what you want," Nilsson said after placing a red rose on the mound of flowers outside the hospital where Lindh died. "She was the only one who made me listen to politics. She could talk on our level. She could tell us things so simply."

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