To be or not to be an LPF MP?

5th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Four of the eight MPs elected in 2003 on the ticket of the populist LPF renewed their membership of the party the parliamentary faction broke away from in a divisive crisis last year. The other four MPs are considering their options.

5 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — Four of the eight MPs elected in 2003 on the ticket of the populist LPF renewed their membership of the party the parliamentary faction broke away from in a divisive crisis last year. The other four MPs are considering their options.

Three out of the remaining four are believed to be considering whether to return to the LPF, join another party or to leave politics altogether.

MP Joost Eerdmans is entirely opposed to rejoining the LPF.

Seven MPs abandoned the party last August in a dispute with the LPF executive over continued power struggles and a financial crisis. Only MP Wien van den Brink — who was sick at the time — continued on as an LPF member.

Former party leader Mat Herben initially joined the break away but returned to the party in October. He was followed by Joao Varela. Present parliamentary faction leader Gerard van As also recently took out membership of the LPF.

MPs Max Hermans and Margot Kraneveldt are unsure if they will rejoin the party, but have refused to rule out the possibility. They are considering giving the new party executive the chance to restore order.

Former LPF immigration minister Hilbrand Nawijn — who claims Herben is "not reliable" given the fact he took out renewed party membership — is also keeping his options open.

Nawijn will participate in the local council elections next year in Zoetermeer before considering his future in parliament. It is possible he will quit national politics altogether.

Van As claimed during the presentation of the party's annual report on Monday that uncertainty over LPF politicians would not drive voters away. He said a new list of electoral candidates will be presented at the end of 2006.

He has also proposed linking the LPF to another political movement. He proposed in February this new party should be called "Heart for the Netherlands". He said the concept could also be used for council elections.

Van As initially wanted to use the name "Hart van Nederland", or heart of the Netherlands. This drew a threat of legal action from commercial television station SBS 6 whose flagship news programme has the same name.

Van As said the LPF preformed like a political "hornet" in the past 12 months. He claimed it held the coalition government together when minority partner Democrat D66 refused to support the policy agreed with its government partners, the Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD.

In the coming year, the LPF will focus on important policy areas, including safety, integration, democratic reform and combating bureaucracy.

Founded by anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn prior to his assassination in May 2002, the LPF won a hold in the coalition CDA and VVD government in the elections later that same month.

But party infighting brought the government down in 87 days and the LPF was reduced to a minor opposition role in Parliament at the January 2003 elections.

Continued party rows have sparked calls for the party to disband amid claims that the legacy of Fortuyn would be better served without the LPF in parliament.

In defiance, the party has asserted it will continue to campaign on Fortuyn-based ideology such as restricted immigration, integration, streamlined bureaucracy and better public safety.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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