Dutch Elections: Landscape Changing

A political murder, a cabinet resigning over the 1995 mass murder in Srebrenica a month before the general election, the unprecedented success of a new right-wing group: the Dutch elections were both sensational and dramatic. Negotiations for a right-wing government are underway.

The World Today
Published 1 June 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 2 minute READ

Edwin Van De Haar

Senior public affairs consultant, Bennis Porter Novelli, a Dutch communications consultancy firm

The elections took place in the shadow of the shocking murder of Pim Fortuyn, the right-wing newcomer in Dutch politics. He managed to change the political landscape within months with his Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF). This was mainly because of his unconventional ideas, his outspoken and openly gay behaviour and his talent for speaking clearly about the concerns of ordinary people, especially on issues such as immigration, asylum and healthcare.

Fortuyn attracted many people to the ballot box who previously had not bothered to vote. Had he not been assassinated, he would have had a serious chance of becoming prime minister. Contrary to (mostly foreign) opinion, however, Fortuyn was not a fascist or the Dutch equivalent of French extreme right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen. The closest comparison would be to Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi. Right wing for sure, but not extreme right.

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