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Sweden rejects euro currency

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Sweden is in mourning following the stabbing death of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. CNN's Robyn Curnow reports
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Sweden, still reeling from the stabbing death of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, has rejected a proposal to join the euro currency, dealing a blow to business and government.

Voters rejected the euro by a 14-point margin, 56 to 42 percent, with 2 percent of ballots ruled invalid. There are 7 million registered voters in Sweden, and officials had expected voter turnout to exceed 80 percent.

Sunday's vote was a consultative referendum and is not binding. Sweden's parliament will make the final decision on whether to approve or reject the currency.

Lindh, 46 -- one of the nation's most popular politicians and a supporter of the new currency -- was stabbed several times inside a upmarket Stockholm department store as she shopped Wednesday. She died early Thursday as a result of wounds to her abdomen.

It is unclear what effect, if any, Lindh's death had on the outcome of the referendum, though officials had expected it to be decided by a narrow margin.

Police are still searching for Lindh's killer, and have made no arrests in connection with the murder. They have released an image of the suspect, taken from store surveillance video, showing a man in his 30s with a blue baseball cap and grey sweatshirt. (Images of suspect)

The motive for the killing is still unclear.

Prime Minister Goran Persson said the country must now "rejoin and come together again" after the vote.

"Remember one thing -- that Sweden is performing better than the rest of Europe," Persson said.

"To convince the people in that situation to change your currency -- say farewell to your own currency and go for the project when you can see that you are performing better, we are performing better -- that's not easy."

The "no" supporters said joining the euro could damage the country's strong economic performance and generous welfare system, while the "yes" backers said trade and future growth would be enhanced by becoming a member.

The "no" vote will boost the anti-euro campaigns in Britain and Denmark -- the other two European Union countries outside the 12-member euro zone.

-- CNN Correspondent Robyn Curnow and Producer Kim Norgaard in Stockholm contributed to this report.


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