Liveable party announces its demise
27 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch people's power party Leefbaar Nederland (Liveable Netherlands) will shortly dissolve, it announced on Thursday.
27 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — Dutch people's power party Leefbaar Nederland (Liveable Netherlands) will shortly dissolve, it announced on Thursday.
Faced with large financial debts, the party has no money to contest the general election in November. "It is over for the party," LN chairman Fons Zinken said.
Zinken told newspaper 'De Telegraaf' that Interior Minister Johan Remkes is seeking the repayment of roughly EUR 108,000 it received in funding from the government. A court has ruled LN also owes Hilversum municipality money and the party has other creditors.
"Any money we raised to mount a campaign would be claimed by Remkes. Therefore we can't take part in the election," the chairman said.
The Interior Ministry gave LN EUR almost 108,000 too much in subsidy a few years ago. A Ministry spokesperson said the party did not have the required 1,000 paid up members to qualify for the money. A court case about the subsidy continues.
LN is countersuing Remkes for EUR 40,000, which it wants to use to pay its other debts. The party executive is waiting for this matter to be resolved before it pulls the plug.
Modelled on the once strong Leefbaar parties on the city councils in Hilversum and Utrecht, Leefbaar Nederland was established in March 1999 to break the stranglehold the traditional left-wing and centre-right parties have on the national stage.
Pim Fortuyn was elected to lead the party into the general election in May 2002. Polls suggested it could win up to 20 seats.
But crisis struck three months before the election when the executive sacked Fortuyn, after he called for an end to immigration and for the removal of the anti-discrimination clause from the Constitution. Prosecutor Fred Teeven replaced Fortuyn as leader.
LN won two seats but Fortuyn's new party LPF won 28 of the 150 seats in parliament. Fortuyn had been assassinated nine days before the election. His party joined a centre-right coalition which collapsed after 87 days and a new election was called for January 2003.
Failing to make any real headway, the party took a gamble in late 2002 by choosing positive thinking guru Emile Ratelband to lead its campaign for the election. His unconventional approach to politics led to him getting the sack a short time later.
His successor was 22-year-old political unknown Haitske van de Linde. LN lost both its seats.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news