| Mourners stand in line to pay their respects to Anna Lindh in Stockholm. (AFP)
Stockholm, Sept. 12 (Reuters): The murder of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh has prompted some Swedes to consider a sympathy vote on Sunday for her campaign to swap the crown for the euro, but markets today were still betting on a “No”.
Police have arrested no suspects in their hunt for Lindh’s killer two days after she was stabbed in a crowded Stockholm department store, but they said the shop might have recorded pictures of him on a video surveillance camera.
Flowers piled outside the department store where she was stabbed on Wednesday in a case that revived bitter memories of the unsolved 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.
One man was questioned yesterday before being released. Prosecutor Agenta Bildberg, who is now leading the Palme investigation, was assigned the Lindh case.
The foreign ministry said that Lindh, 46, was sent an e-mail on August 27 threatening her and her family and denouncing her for teaming up with big business in favour of the EU’s single currency.
Mourners placed thousands of red roses in giant piles on the pavement outside the store, a few blocks from where Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down in 1986 in a still unsolved assassination. “Our best minister,” one tribute read.
In an apparent surge of sympathy for Lindh, a Skop institute poll today showed the “Yes” side in the vote on joining the EU’s single currency had leapt to a 50-50 tie with the “Nos”. The poll surveyed 792 voters after Lindh died.
But the Swedish crown slipped from three-month highs when investors placed more trust in a Sifo survey, also taken after her death, showing the “No” campaign had widened its lead to 50-38 per cent from 49-39. The sample was just over 1,000.
“Investors have already priced in a ‘No’ with, say, 90 per cent certainty,” Handelsbanken equity strategist Mattias Isakson said. Financial markets doubted the Skop poll, which shifted from previous format by omitting undecideds.
Even so, some Swedes planned a sympathy vote. “Yesterday I said to myself I don’t care, I don’t want to vote. But now I am going to vote ‘Yes’ because of her,” said Lisa Bjornestig, a 62-year-old office cleaner at a memorial in the town of Sodertalje about 40 km from Stockholm. But Yaldez Onssi, a 55-year-old teacher, said: “I will still vote ‘No’. It's too early for Sweden to take this step.”
Stockholm police commissioner Leif Jennekvist said surveillance cameras in the NK department store where Lindh, 46, was stabbed might have images of the killer. “You see a lot of people moving and among that group of people we are screening one particularly interesting person who has caught our eye,” he said, noting that the sequence had been filmed before the attack on Lindh.
Prosecutor Agneta Bildberg, who is now leading the Palme investigation, was assigned the Lindh case. Experts said the killer’s identity might sway voters.
“There is great potential for a sympathy vote that will turn this one,” said politics professor Bo Bjurulf at Lund University. “Obviously if it’s politically motivated the sympathy vote would be stronger.”
The “Yes” side has trailed in polls since April despite its high-profile campaign backed by mainstream politicians and big business.
The “No” side has tapped into a deep vein of mistrust of the EU, especially among women, the left and those dependent on Sweden’s cradle-to-grave welfare system.