Anger was temporarily assuaged when a local man, who witnesses claimed was in the area at the time of the murder, was convicted of the crime after Palme’s wife picked him out of a police line-up.However, her testimony was later challenged in court and the man was acquitted on appeal.Other lines of inquiry also emerged. One persistent theory has been that South African security services killed Palme because of his vocal criticism of the apartheid regime.Another is that a second local man, who came forward as an eyewitness to the crime in 1986, in fact carried out the murder because he objected to Palme’s politics. He denied involvement and died in 2000. * * *The prosecutor’s interview, promising a big reveal, has raised more questions than it answered. “I am of course very curious,” Leif GW Persson, a former professor of criminology for the National Police Board, told the Swedish newspaper Mitt i Stockholm. “Prosecutor Petersson is no fool,” he said.Persson, a former police officer, speculated that investigators may have found the murder weapon, which has been missing since 1986. * * *News of a potential breakthrough is “gratifying and sparks hope,” Palme’s son Mårten, now 58 and a professor of economics at Stockholm University, told Swedish daily Expressen.For Sweden, too, a resolution to the 30-plus-year saga could help soothe a national sense of trauma.Every year on February 28, people commemorate Palme’s death by laying roses on the street corner where he was shot. Could this really be the beginning of the end of the biggest investigation in Swedish criminal history? * * *As a lawmaker, Palme had been a polarizing figure: His push to expand the welfare state and empower labor unions divided public opinion at home, while his sharp criticism of U.S. foreign policy, especially during the Vietnam War, proved divisive abroad.The year he was killed, the economy was struggling and the government was under intense pressure to turn things around. He was one year into a second term as prime minister, after winning elections in 1982 and 1985.Palme was also widely respected and a big presence on the left — a protégé of the influential Swedish leader Tage Erlander, he served as leader of the Social Democrats from 1969 until his murder.His killing — and the authorities’ failure to identify the killer — became an enduring source of national pain. At an event to mark the 30th anniversary of Palme’s assassination in 2016, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called the case an “open wound.” Sara Åsberg, a 36-year-old lawyer, was one of the many passersby who stopped at the spot a few weeks ago to look at the flowers.“From what I have heard, the prosecutor thinks he is onto something with the case, and I really hope that he is,” she said. “Swedes need closure.”This article has been updated to note Wednesday’s announcement. Also On POLITICO Conservative Americans see coronavirus hope in progressive Sweden By Tina Nguyen Letter from Stockholm Coronavirus: Sweden’s ‘preppers’ say I told you so By Charlie Duxbury The murder was a defining moment in Swedish politics — and one most people were forced to accept would always remain a mystery.That may soon change: Nearly three and a half decades after Palme was killed, the prosecutor leading the case made an announcement that caught the country by surprise.Olof Palme served as leader of the Social Democrats from 1969 until his murder.“I feel positive that we are going to be able to present what happened around the murder and who was responsible for the murder,” Krister Petersson said in an interview with Swedish public service television in mid-February.“My goal is that, by the end of the first of half of 2020, we either charge someone, or we close the investigation,” he said.The interview unleashed fevered speculation and debate among criminologists and investigative journalists. On Wednesday, officials are set to announce the outcome of the 34-year investigation. STOCKHOLM — Sweden may finally get an answer to the question that has nagged its psyche for more than 30 years: What happened the night of February 28, 1986?Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme had been walking home from the movies with his wife Lisbeth in Stockholm when an attacker shot them from behind, killing Palme.The attacker fled the scene and, despite years of intense investigations, was never identified. Every lead turned cold. It was as though he had vanished into thin air. It’s unclear why he chose to pre-empt his own final conclusions, for example, or why he raised two options — bringing charges or closing the case — if he is confident that he knows who is responsible for the killing.Experts have pointed out that there are a number of scenarios under which Petersson could both identify the murderer and still close the case, including if the murderer is dead. He declined a request to be interviewed for this piece.The lead police officer on the case, Hans Melander, told POLITICO that interviews on the case are ongoing, but declined to give further details about lines of inquiry being pursued.For Sweden, a resolution to the 30-plus year saga could help soothe a national sense of trauma | EPA/STR SWEDEN OUTBut he, too, said he believes the case is close to being resolved.“It is satisfying to be able to see some kind of ending to this investigation, it has been going on for a long time,” he said, adding he is more certain of a resolution than at any time during his 15 years working the case.Experts who have followed the investigations also appear cautiously optimistic. According to testimony by Lisbeth Palme, who survived the attack and died in 2018, the night of her husband’s murder began in unremarkable fashion.It was a Friday, and the couple had decided on a whim to meet their son Mårten for a movie at the Grand Cinema in central Stockholm. They had given their security detail the night off.After the movie, they parted ways and Lisbeth and Palme set off south along Sveavägen street to walk back to their apartment in Stockholm’s Old Town quarter.Olof Palme had been a polarizing figure: His push to expand the welfare state and empower labor unions divided the Swedish public opinion | AFP via Getty ImagesA couple of minutes into the walk, they crossed the street to look in a shop window. Witnesses describe how a man approached the couple from behind and shot them both, before running east along Tunnelgatan, up some steps and out of sight.A witness, Anders Björkman, described the shooter to the police as “wearing a dark or dark-blue knitted hat which had been rolled up a couple of times and a dark coat-like garment which went down to his knees.”But after a flurry of activity in the early days, the investigation soon slowed, sparking fierce criticism of the police’s approach.