BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 7 May, 2002, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Fortuyn party in search of a leader
Pim Fortuyn
Pim Fortuyn's personality defined his party
The late Pim Fortuyn led a one-man movement, whose success was directly attributable to his own provocative and charismatic personality.

It was even named after him - List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) - and its ability to survive is now being questioned.

The number two on the party's list of candidates is Joao Valera - a 27-year-old businessman and immigrant from the Cape Verde islands off the west coast of Africa.

Fortuyn's policies
Halt immigration
Integrate existing immigrants
Re-erect Dutch border controls
Sack 25% of civil servants
End Dutch system of consensus politics
Reduce Dutch payments to EU
According to some reports Mr Valera was given this position partly to help Mr Fortuyn fend off accusations of racism.

However, he is being seen as a possible new leader for the three-month-old party.

Mr Fortuyn's core supporters came from the Netherlands' white working-class, but he appealed to a wide range of protest voters delighted by his attempt to break the mould of traditional Dutch politics.

In Rotterdam, where the LPF was victorious in local elections in March, he even claimed to have won some support from the nearly 50% of the population of non-Dutch origin.


As an openly gay politician, who cultivated a high camp style, he did not appeal to the traditional Dutch right wing.

A man stands by a Fortuyn poster outside the late politician's house in Rotterdam
The LPF drew support from a range of voters
But he did draw support from an extreme right-wing minority, who were among those demonstrating in The Hague after his assassination on Monday.

Some were heard shouting: "Pim, der Fuehrer!"

Mr Fortuyn was best known for his controversial policies on immigration, which he sought to halt - at least where immigrants from developing countries were concerned.

"The Netherlands is full," he said.

Like his radical right-wing counterparts in other European countries, he said this step was necessary to protect national culture - in this case the supremely liberal and tolerant culture of the Netherlands.

He stopped short of urging repatriation of immigrants, and recently suggested issuing residence permits to all illegal immigrants living in the country for more than five years - provided they spoke enough Dutch.


Mr Fortuyn came from outside The Netherlands' close-knit political establishment, which works by building consensus between unions and bosses, and between the partners of coalition governments.

Mr Fortuyn, by contrast, said he wanted the politics of conflict rather than consensus.

Pollsters say the LPF's support comes partly from the 27% who did not vote in the last general election.

The party's prospects in the 15 May election now depend on it getting a sympathy vote.

It had been predicted to get 19 to 36 seats in the 150-member lower house - but without Mr Fortuyn it is thought unlikely to do so well.

Member of Pim Fortuyn's party Jim Janssen Van Raay
"He had many threats"
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories