Laila Freivalds

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Laila Freivalds
Laila Freivalds in November 2004
Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
1 October 2004 – 1 November 2004
Prime MinisterGöran Persson
Preceded byJan O. Karlsson
Succeeded byBo Ringholm
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
10 October 2003 – 21 March 2006
Prime MinisterGöran Persson
Preceded byJan O. Karlsson (Acting)
Succeeded byBo Ringholm (Acting)
Minister for Justice
In office
7 October 1994 – 21 September 2000
Prime MinisterIngvar Carlsson
Göran Persson
Preceded byGun Hellsvik
Succeeded byLena Hjelm-Wallén
In office
4 October 1988 – 4 October 1991
Prime MinisterIngvar Carlsson
Preceded byThage G. Peterson
Succeeded byGun Hellsvik
Personal details
Laila Ligita Freivalds

(1942-06-22) 22 June 1942 (age 81)
Riga, Reichskommissariat Ostland (now Latvia)
Political partySocial Democratic
Alma materUppsala University

Laila Ligita Freivalds (born 22 June 1942) is a

Social Democratic politician who served as Minister for Justice from 1988 to 1991 and again from 1994 to 2000, as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2006 and as Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
briefly in 2004.

Freivalds was born in

condominium, circumventing a controversial housing tenure
law that she was responsible for introducing and advocating in her public role as Minister of Justice. Since this scandal, her relations with the press have been strained.

Following the assassination of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh on 11 September 2003, Freivalds was asked to succeed her as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Events leading to the resignation in 2006

Laila Freivalds with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in February 2004.

Laila Freivalds was severely criticised in the Swedish press for the way the

Swedish Government handled the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Asia, and has admitted that her ministry "Ought to have reacted much more strongly as early as Boxing Day
instead of waiting for more information." In addition, she was heavily criticised for going to the theatre on 26 December 2004, the day of the tsunami disaster, and for stating that she does not listen to the news when she is not working.

On 21 March 2006, she resigned from her office as minister of foreign affairs, after it was confirmed that she lied to media about her involvement in the closing of a website belonging to the Sweden Democrats, in the wake of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. During the controversy the Sweden Democrats published a similar cartoon on their web pages, only to be shut down shortly after by their internet service provider. It was initially discovered that the government had been in contact with the provider and suggested to them the closure, but Freivalds maintained to the media that a subordinate had done so without her knowledge.

Offentlighetsprincipen (The Principle of Public Access) – a

Swedish constitution dealing with freedom of the press.

Most journalists suggest that the turning point came after Göran Persson, the Prime Minister of Sweden during this time, publicly criticized the civil servant who suggested to the Internet host that they close the website, only to find out later that he had acted with the approval of Freivalds. It is theorised but not confirmed that the prime minister privately suggested that she resign, which she subsequently did.

Bo Ringholm was Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs[1][2] until 27 March, when Jan Eliasson
was appointed to the post.


  1. ^ "Swedish foreign minister resigns over cartoons". Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 March 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2006.
  2. ^ "FACTBOX-Five facts about Sweden's Laila Freivalds". Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 March 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2006.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden