Right-wing emerges from Pim's shadow

14th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

14 November 2003, AMSTERDAM — The political party created by a city councillor expelled from Pim Fortuyn's Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) for flirting with the extreme right would win six seats in the national Parliament if a general election was held now, according to a new poll.

14 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — The political party created by a city councillor expelled from Pim Fortuyn's Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) for flirting with the extreme right would win six seats in the national Parliament if a general election was held now, according to a new poll.

Despite the fact that 75 percent of people questioned said they had not heard of Michiel Smit, 8 percent said they would consider voting for his Nieuw Rechts, or New Right, party, news agency Novum reports.

One percent of respondents said they would definitely vote for the party and 61 percent said they agreed with the party's call for guest workers to be repatriated to their home countries.

It is unclear, however, if they would be in favour of this applying to the original guest workers of the 1950s, most of whom came from Italy and Spain, as well as later Turkish arrivals.

Anti-immigration campaigner Pim Fortuyn emerged as a dominant force in Dutch politics last year. His LR city party took more than 30 percent of the vote in Rotterdam in the local election on 6 March 2002 and, despite the loss of Smit and two other councillors, it remains the leading element of Rotterdam Council's governing coalition.

Fortuyn's national LPF party rocketed to power two months later with 26 MPs after Fortuyn was assassinated nine days before the general election on 15 May 2002.

Due to internal wrangling, the LPF was dropped by its Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD partners 87 days into the life of the national coalition government.

The LPF has always denied that Pim Fortuyn's tough stance on immigration was helping to popularise extreme right-wing policies in the Netherlands.

Michiel Smit sits alone in the Rotterdam Council after he was ejected from the populist LR party in February because of his links to the extreme right Vlaamse Bloc in Belgium. He has hosted a working visit by Filip de Winter, the leader of the extreme Flemish party.

Smit's party says it is willing to work with like-minded groups, but denies it is closely associated with the Nieuwe Nationale Partij (NNP), a party which opposes multiculturalism.

The NNP denies in turn that it is a fascist or racist party, but admits some of its members used to belong to the extreme right Central Democrat CD party, which no longer officially exists.

Smit is alleged to have made several racist remarks in relation to immigrants while a councillor for the LR party. The comment most often ascribed to him by his opponents is: "There is one thing worse than a Nigger, a white Nigger!".

This refers to his alleged distaste at the way many native Dutch teens in Rotterdam have adopted the language, dress style and language common upon young, non-white immigrants in the city.

White teens who behave in this way are sometimes disparagingly described as "whiggers", often on websites run by neo-Nazis.

Smit claims that he is being unfairly portrayed by the media and anti-fascist groups in the Netherlands.

Responding to the latest poll, Smit said: "It is clear that we will be represented in Parliament after the next general election".

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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