Olof Palme

Olof Palme

Olof Palme was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on 30th January, 1927. While studying at the University of Stockholm he joined the Social Democratic Labour Party (SAP). In 1952 he became president of the United Students Union in Sweden.

Palme went to work as secretary to Tage Erlander, the prime minister of Sweden. In 1955 he became leader of the Social Democratic Labour Party youth movement. The following year he was elected to the Riksdag. Over the next few years he held several ministerial posts including Minister of Communications and Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Palme became prime minister in 1969. Although he lost his parliamentary majority in 1971 he managed to carry out major constitutional reforms. In 1976 he was defeated over his plans to increase taxes to pay for Sweden's welfare state.

In 1980 Palme was asked by the United Nations to be the arbitrator in the war between Iran and Iraq. He was not successful in this mission but his international reputation benefited from his efforts to achieve peace in the region.

Palme returned to power in 1982. However, on 28th February, 1986, Olof Palme was shot dead while walking home with his wife after a visit to a cinema.

Viktor Gunnarsson was arrested for the murder but was later released without charge. Christer Pettersson was the next suspect and he was found guilty on 27th July 1989. This sentenced was quashed on 2nd November 1989 by the Swedish Court of Civil and Criminal Appeal Board.