Sven Olof Joachim Palme (January 30, 1927-February 28, 1986) was a Swedish politician. He was the leader of the Social Democrat Party from 1969 to 1986 and was Prime Minister of Sweden with a Privy Council Government from 1969 to 1976 and with a Cabinet Government starting in 1982. Palme was assassinated in 1986 and was succeeded by Ingvar Carlsson.
Early life and education
Palme was born in Östermalm, Stockholm, Sweden. He came from an upper-class background and his family belonged to the Swedish nobility. However, his political orientation came to be influenced by Social Democratic ideas and ideals.
As a Social Democrat, Palme held several ministerial posts before becoming Prime Minister in 1969 when Tage Erlander stepped down.
Palme was a controversial political figure with strong views, criticising United States for the Vietnam War, fighting nuclear weapons proliferation, and condemning the apartheid politics in South Africa. He received some criticism for being too idealistic about the PLO and Fidel Castro. Palme is the most internationally known Swedish politician of the 20th century (with the possible exclusion of "humanitarians" like Raoul Wallenberg and Dag Hammarskjöld).
His assassination on February 28, 1986 still remains unsolved. Similar to that of John F. Kennedy, several conspiracy theories surround the murder. Christer Pettersson, a small-time criminal and alcoholic, was tried and convicted for the murder, but was later acquitted on appeal. This was the first murder of a Swedish politician since that of Axel von Fersen in 1810, and the first assassination of a Swedish head of government since King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792.