New LPF split threatens
5 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Mat Herben has rejoined the populist LPF just two months after he and the opposition party's seven other MPs broke away.
5 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — Mat Herben has rejoined the populist LPF just two months after he and the opposition party's seven other MPs broke away.
It is unclear if Herben will remain leader of the breakaway LPF parliamentarian faction following the latest episode in the faction fighting that has beset the LPF since its founder Pim Fortuyn was murdered in May 2002.
Fellow MP and former LPF government minister Hilbrand Nawijn has expressed his displeasure with Herben's move, opening up the prospect of a split within the populist grouping.
Herben confirmed on Monday that he had renewed membership of the LPF. The breakaway parliamentary faction held an emergency meeting over the matter last night. Herben attended the start of the meeting, but walked out half-way through.
Meanwhile, a court in The Hague will decide later on Tuesday whether the group of MPs can continue to use the LPF name. The issue sparked a conflict between MPs and the party at the end of the summer, with the LPF party lodging legal action to block the MPs from using the party name.
Political sources have indicated that the LPF faction expects the court to rule in favour of the LPF party, forcing the eight MPs to choose another name.
At the same time, several MPs want to depose Herben as parliamentary leader and he say Herben's move is a self-preservation tactic. There is speculation one or two other MPs might follow Herben back to the LPF party.
Herben told RTL News on Monday that the establishment of a new political movement would have an insufficient effect and that "the old trusted LPF trademark" would have the best chance to survive politically.
The eight populist LPF MPs officially cut ties with the party on 24 August in protest at ongoing problems with the party executive.
The crisis came after the public prosecution launched an inquiry into possible fraud in LPF finances, but the resulting inquiry cleared the LPF on 1 September of any wrongdoing.
In what had been a bad few weeks for the LPF, it also lost a bankruptcy application in the Rotterdam Court on 17 August. LPF MPs then initiated talks with Liveable Rotterdam to form a new Pim Fortuyn-style party.
Herben became leader of the LPF and its parliamentary faction following Fortuyn's assassination. He led the party into coalition with the Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD parties.
That government collapsed in 87 days due to infighting between two LPF ministers. The LPF was also riven by factions and Herben was replaced as leader by MP Harry Wijnschenk.
His reign in power was shorter lived than the government: he resigned from the party in just under 50 days and Herben took over as leader again.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news