Olof Palme

Sven Olof Joachim Palme (/ˈpɑːlmə/; Swedish: [ˈûːlɔf ˈpâlːmɛ] (listen); 30 January 1927 – 28 February 1986) was a Swedish politician and statesman who served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 1969 to 1976 and 1982 to 1986. Palme led the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 until his assassination in 1986.

Olof Palme
Palme in 1984
Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
8 October 1982  28 February 1986
MonarchCarl XVI Gustaf
DeputyIngvar Carlsson
Preceded byThorbjörn Fälldin
Succeeded byIngvar Carlsson
In office
14 October 1969  8 October 1976
MonarchGustaf VI Adolf
Carl XVI Gustaf
Preceded byTage Erlander
Succeeded byThorbjörn Fälldin
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
14 October 1969  28 February 1986
Preceded byTage Erlander
Succeeded byIngvar Carlsson
President of the Nordic Council
In office
1 January 1979  31 December 1979
Preceded byTrygve Bratteli
Succeeded byMatthías Árni Mathiesen
Minister of Education
In office
29 September 1967  14 October 1969
Prime MinisterTage Erlander
Preceded byRagnar Edenman
Succeeded byIngvar Carlsson
Minister of Communications
In office
25 November 1965  29 September 1967
Prime MinisterTage Erlander
Preceded byGösta Skoglund
Succeeded bySvante Lundkvist
Personal details
Sven Olof Joachim Palme

(1927-01-30)30 January 1927
Stockholm, Sweden
Died28 February 1986(1986-02-28) (aged 59)
Sveavägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of deathAssassination by gunshot
Resting placeAdolf Fredrik Church
Political partySocial Democratic
Jelena Rennerova
(m. 1948; div. 1952)

(m. 1956)
Alma materUniversity of Stockholm,
Kenyon College
WebsiteOlof Palme International Center
Military service
Allegiance Sweden
Branch/service Swedish Army
Years of service1945–1947 (active)
1947–1977 (reserve)
Rank Kapten
UnitSvea Artillery Regiment

A longtime protégé of Prime Minister Tage Erlander, he became Prime Minister of Sweden in 1969, heading a Privy Council Government. He left office after losing the 1976 general election, which ended 40 years of unbroken rule by the Social Democratic Party. While Leader of the Opposition, he served as special mediator of the United Nations in the Iran–Iraq War, and was President of the Nordic Council in 1979. He faced a second defeat in 1979, but he returned as Prime Minister after electoral victories in 1982 and 1985, and served until his death.

Palme was a pivotal and polarizing[1] figure domestically as well as in international politics from the 1960s onward. He was steadfast in his non-alignment policy towards the superpowers, accompanied by support for numerous liberation movements following decolonization including, most controversially, economic and vocal support for a number of Third World governments. He was the first Western head of government to visit Cuba after its revolution, giving a speech in Santiago praising contemporary Cuban revolutionaries.

Frequently a critic of United States and Soviet foreign policy, he expressed his resistance to imperialist ambitions and authoritarian regimes, including those of Francisco Franco of Spain, Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union, António de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal, Gustáv Husák of Czechoslovakia, and most notably John Vorster and P. W. Botha of South Africa, denouncing apartheid as a "particularly gruesome system". His 1972 condemnation of American bombings in Hanoi, comparing the bombings to a number of historical "crimes" including the bombing of Guernica, the massacres of Oradour-sur-glane, Babi Yar, Katyn, Lidice and Sharpeville and the extermination of Jews and other groups at Treblinka, resulted in a temporary freeze in Sweden–United States relations.

Palme's assassination on a Stockholm street on 28 February 1986 was the first murder of a national leader in Sweden since Gustav III in 1792, and had a great impact across Scandinavia.[2] Local convict and addict Christer Pettersson was originally convicted of the murder in district court but was unanimously acquitted by the Svea Court of Appeal. On 10 June 2020, Swedish prosecutors held a press conference to announce that there was "reasonable evidence" that Stig Engström had killed Palme.[3] As Engström committed suicide in 2000, the authorities announced that the investigation into Palme's death was to be closed.[3] The 2020 conclusion has faced widespread criticism from lawyers, policemen and journalists, decrying the evidence as only circumstantial, and too weak to ensure a trial had the suspect been alive.[4]