Poll predicts hard times for Pim's party
1 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — Pim Fortuyn's party Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) could lose eight of its 17 seats if the local elections were held now, a new opinion poll has suggested.
1 February 2006
AMSTERDAM — Pim Fortuyn's party Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) could lose eight of its 17 seats if the local elections were held now, a new opinion poll has suggested.
The Labour Party (PvdA), which is in the opposition in Rotterdam, stands to win 21 seats, up 10 on its poor showing in 2002.
The opinion poll was carried out by TNS NIPO on behalf of the local government in the port city. The local elections in the Netherlands take place on 7 March.
The PvdA can thank its improved fortunes mainly on non-native Dutch residents (Allochtonen or newcomers) in Rotterdam rallying to the party, the organisers of the poll said. Almost half of all allochtoon voters say they will vote for the PvdA.
LR and the Liberal Party (VVD) are not scoring well among younger voters, the opinion poll found. Both these parties run Rotterdam in coalition with the Christian Democrat Party (CDA). The administration has concentrated on improving public safety.
The opinion poll suggested the CDA would lose one seat and the VVD would retain its tally of four. The Socialist Party is tipped to add four to its one seat. The liberal democrat D66 party, the poll suggested, will lose its two seats, with the green-left GroenLinks and the local party Stadspartij also experiencing a drop in support.
Just over half of the adults in Rotterdam are expected to vote next month, TNS NIPO said. And half of electorate is to some degree a floating voter.
LR leader Marco Pastors expressed surprise and doubt about the findings in relation to his party. "This runs totally contrary to what we think. Everything in me says that we have become more popular," the former alderman said.
It might actually be a good thing, Pastors said, the poll has been held so near to the election. "Everyone has been warned. I am shocked. I hope the average Rotterdammer is too. This is a nightmare".
Pastors was forced to relinquish his position as alderman in charge of infrastructure in November 2005. He drew the ire of his colleagues on the executive council when he said in an interview "criminal Muslims" often use religion to justify their actions. A poll taken shortly afterwards indicated LR would win 19 seats.
Populist politician Pim Fortuyn led LR in the local election in March 2002. The party's big victory raised the possibility Fortuyn would be king-maker, if not prime minister, following the national election two months later.
Fortuyn was assassinated nine days before the general election on 15 May 2002. His party won a spectacular 28 seats and formed a coalition with the CDA and VVD. Infighting between two LPF ministers led to the collapse of the coalition 87 days later.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news + local elections in the Netherlands