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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 September, 2003, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
No camp celebrates

By Lars Bevanger
BBC, Stockholm

There were whoops of joy at the headquarters of the No side as the preliminary results of the euro referendum showed a clear lead for their side.

Mound of flowers for Anna Lindh outside the department store where she was murdered
Shrines to Anna Lindh keep growing in size

The main political parties on the No side and many other No campaigners gathered at the Blue Bar restaurant in central Stockholm.

They followed the results live on giant television screens positioned around the venue.

As the No victory became assured, a party kicked off, wine began to flow and a band began to play.

Earlier in the day, the sombre mood which had gripped the country since Anna Lindh's murder seemed to lift slightly.

There was a steady stream of people in and out of the Norra Real high school, one of the Stockholm polling stations.

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From the very old to the young and families with prams, they all answered the call from Sweden's political leaders to go and vote - no matter what their persuasion - in a show of respect for democracy.

Inside, they found ballot papers stacked up in three piles - one each for Yes, No or Undecided.

Opinion poll shift

The No side had been enjoying a solid lead in all opinion polls before Wednesday's attack on Lindh - the most ardent and visible Yes campaigner in the country.

Outside a polling station: Swedes tell how they voted - and why

The question everybody began to ask then was whether her brutal death would help the Yes vote.

One of the last opinion polls showed the Yes side in the lead for the first time since campaigning began.

Christina Lagerberg, a Stockholm housewife, told the BBC she had not made her mind up until recently, but ended up voting Yes.

But it was not the death of Anna Lindh that had swayed her opinion.

"No, at the time of her death I had already decided. But I do think more people have voted, and perhaps voted blank, especially those who hadn't made up their minds yet."

Outcome to be respected

The officials inside the voting station said it was as busy as on a normal general election.

I think her death will have a relatively big effect on the Yes-vote, especially among women
Voter, Michael Isakson
That means a good 70% of the people were casting their vote.

Michael Isakson, voting No, felt the events of last week would have an impact on the result.

"I think her death will have a relatively big effect on the Yes vote, especially among women," he said.

But at the same time he said he had no reason to doubt the validity of the referendum.

All party leaders, as well as the official Yes and No campaigns, have said they will respect the outcome of the referendum, no matter what.

Shrines

Asa Borssen came to the polling station with her two-year-old daughter, Anna.

Prime Minister Goeran Persson
PM Goeran Persson licks the envelope containing his vote
"I voted Yes, because we've already chosen to be part of the EU. So then we should also accept the monetary union," she said.

"That is the reason for my Yes vote, not the death of Anna Lindh."

While voters at this polling station were focusing on the task at hand on polling day, across the country there were still poignant reminders of the country's feeling of loss.

Countless improvised shrines to Anna Lindh kept growing in size as people arrived with flowers, candles and letters.

People were still queuing to sign books of condolence, laid out in many official buildings all over Sweden.




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