Fortuyn legacy 'safe' as MPS to set up new party
26 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Having split from their party this week, the parliamentary faction of the populist LPF wants to set up a new political group in co-operation with Liveable Rotterdam (LR). Both the LPF and LR parties were headed by controversial politician Pim Fortuyn before he was murdered two years ago.
26 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — Having split from their party this week, the parliamentary faction of the populist LPF wants to set up a new political group in co-operation with Liveable Rotterdam (LR). Both the LPF and LR parties were headed by controversial politician Pim Fortuyn before he was murdered two years ago.
MP Gerard van As has been appointed to head a commission charged with setting up the new political party. The former LPF parliamentarian has urged all interested people — including regional parties — to assist in creating a new Fortuyn-style party.
Van As has discussed the matter with Liveable Rotterdam (Leefbaar Rotterdam) leader Ronald Sorensen and suggested the new party could be a federation of all local liveable-style parties. Van As said it could be called the Fortuynistic Federation.
Fortuyn remained the leader of Liveable Rotterdam (LR) — one of the city parties out of which the national Liveable Netherlands (LN) emerged — despite being sacked as LN leader five months before the May 2002 election. He was dismissed as LN leader because he sparked outrage by claiming the Netherlands was full and urging for the borders to be closed to new immigrants.
LR eventually went on to win 17 seats, making it the majority party on Rotterdam City Council in the March 2002 local elections. The anti-immigration politician founded the LPF to run in the national elections two months later.
But tragedy struck when Fortuyn was shot and killed in Hilversum on 6 May 2002 and despite riding public emotions to a short-lived stay in government, the LPF has since become synonymous with controversy and crises.
LPF infighting caused the collapse of the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and LPF coalition government towards the end of 2002 and the LPF was reduced to just eight seats at the January 2003 election.
Amid continued power struggles in LPF back rooms and a failed application for bankruptcy earlier this month, the final nail in the coffin was hammered in on Monday when the public prosecution revealed it was investigating the party on suspicion of fraud in LPF finances.
MPs resolved on Tuesday to officially break with the party executive and go it alone. LR leader Sorensen has since revealed he is keen to discuss the idea of a new party with the LPF, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported on Wednesday.
Sorensen suggested that the LPF parliamentary faction could be renamed Liveable Rotterdam/LPF. He also suggested that it could be called New Political Federation (NPF), stressing the name included Pim Fortuyn's initials (PF).
At any rate, with both the LPF and LR feeling responsible for preserving Fortuyn's legacy — who is best known for his call to crackdown on immigration, his anti-Islamic stance and calls for a radical public service shake-up — an amalgamation of the two parties would yield many benefits for both of them.
LPF MP and former government minister Hilbrand Nawijn said a far-reaching co-operative relationship with LR was a serious option, saying that they already work together and fuller co-operation appeared logical, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
Currently without a party executive, the amalgamation would instantly give the LPF MPs a proper party base and LR would gain its desired political influence in The Hague much quicker than anticipated.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Pim Fortuyn