Dutch politics descended into a dogfight

25th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 May 2002 , AMSTERDAM — Fortuyn had been at the centre of a political dogfight in the weeks leading up to his death and had been accused as late as Monday afternoon by acting Interior Minister Klaas de Vries of committing fraud.

6 May 2002

AMSTERDAM — Fortuyn had been at the centre of a political dogfight in the weeks leading up to his death and had been accused as late as Monday afternoon by acting Interior Minister Klaas de Vries of committing fraud.

The Labour PvdA MP had said apart from the health and education sectors, the fight against criminality also needed extra funding, something which Fortuyn had rejected.

He had said Fortuyn was committing fraud by promising to improve street safety without intending to spend an extra cent. The money was to be gained through bureacractic economising.

De Vries had also pointed to the party's election promise of a yearly increase of EUR 1.3 billion in funding to pay for 6,000 more police officers and 6,000 more public prosecutors, judges and youth workers.

"Doing nothing is absolutely disastrous," De Vries had said.

Dutch politics had descended into a dogfight between Fortuyn and the main political parties, with Fortuyn particularly attracting widespread publicity and criticism for his outspoken immigration plans.

But he recently rejected comparisons of him with French far right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.

"All those who are here can stay. I don't say send them home like he does — I just say the Netherlands is a small country," Fortuyn was quoted as saying.

"We are already overcrowded, there's no more room and we must shut the borders."

After Fortuyn was assassinated on Monday night, acting Prime Minister Wim Kok immediately abandoned campaigning in Haarlem and returned to The Hague.

Liberal VVD leader Hans Dijkstal said Dutch politics had hit an all-time low and Christian Democrat CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende reacted with shock to the assassination, saying it was terrible news.

Dijkstal also said all political parties had agreed to stop their election campaigning upon news of Fotuyn's shooting.

The immediate repercussions to the Dutch election were not known.

Both the VVD and CDA had earlier distanced themselves further from Fortuyn during the leaders debate on Radio 1 on Sunday.

In the debate, Fortuyn had repeated he would gladly accept the position of Prime Minister in a Cabinet made up of the CDA and VVD.

Research bureau Intomart had recently predicted Fortuyn would win the post of prime minister in the 15 May national elections, basing its statement on the 6 March municipal elections in which Fortuyn won 17 of Rotterdam Council's 45 seats.

But VVD leader Dijkstal and CDA leader Balkenende had appeared less enthusiastic about Fortuyn's coalition proposal.

Both leaders had criticised the financial foundations of Fortuyn's plans and his refusal to not invest for the next two years in the Dutch healthcare system.

[Copyright ANP/Expatica]

Subject: Dutch news

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