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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Dutch election results: Your verdict
The party of the murdered anti-immigration politician, Pim Fortuyn, has gained more than 20 seats in the Dutch general election, giving it second place behind the centre-right Christian Democrats.
The results mark a humiliating defeat for the centre-left coalition, which had been in power for eight years.
Turnout at the polls is said to have been higher than expected in the wake of Mr Fortyun's assassination.
What is your verdict on the vote? What impact will it have on the European political landscape?
this Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Dave, The Netherlands
I see it as the first nail in the coffin of political correctness. It may be a shift to the right, but it takes us closer to the centre, where people can make candid observations without fear of being denounced as "racist". Hopefully, this is the dawn of an era when the race card is no longer trumps.
I am a U.K citizen living in Holland and I am becoming increasingly more concerned with the rise of right wing politics. Fortuyn may not have been as bad as Le Pen but the fact that his views are more palatable is even more worrying in my opinion.
His views had a liberal slant on them, at times sounding almost reasonable, I fear that because of the accessibility of his party's views, there will be more and more Dutch people subscribing to this potentially dangerous wing of politics. You'd have thought that the Dutch of all people would be on guard for this kind of thing, having previously been occupied by the Nazis. In conclusion I don't think Fortuyn was a particularly bad person but the people who he claimed to represent, are worrying, especially in the light of his death. Who's to say the U.K will not go the same way?
T. Kofi, The Netherlands
The Dutch election results have demonstrated that underneath the legendary tolerance the Dutch have shown, resides an underlying shift towards a movement preying largely on hate and fear. All Europeans must come to terms that immigration is for their well being, and makes clear economic sense. Fear of immigrants and a restriction on immigration will lead to an economically neutered Europe. This at a time when Europe is trying to position itself as a global power. Ironically, almost half of Dutch 18 to 30 year olds supported Mr. Fortuyn's party. It is these individuals who would benefit most from immigration into their country. Without immigration to enhance future economic growth, Holland's youth will be relegated to a drone work force providing for an increasingly geriatric and marginalized Dutch welfare state.
A continuing shift to the right risks leading Europe to cultural "purity" and towards global insignificance.
Have Europeans forgotten their history already? The type of bigotry and chauvinism of Fortyun and his European compatriots is simply dangerous. Fortuyn was careful not to make overtly racist comments, but to discriminate and vilify a group for their religion is little better.
Having lived in England and Denmark for several years, I was amazed to see how immigrant communities were so isolated from the rest of the community. Multi-culturalism does work and does not have to mean violence in the streets and race riots, as some claim. Australia is a largely multicultural society and there has never been a race riot - which is not to say that we don't have problems, or that we are without our fair share of bigotry and racism. Europeans should stop blaming immigrants and look a little harder at their societies to solve the problem.
This whole issue highlights the contradictions inherent to democracy and the concept of "toleration", and that of "equality". Democracy, fully expressed, cannot abide the minority and forces that minority to live by the will of the majority despite deeply held principles and beliefs; a recipe for revolution which democracy is supposed to avoid. The only solution to that problem is to separate the parties and give them their own dominions of power.
The doctrine of toleration is unworkable in the presence of the intolerant: liberals, from the past as well as the present, can be quoted effectively saying "We must not tolerate the intolerant", despite the contradiction. Equality cannot exist without lobotomy or liquidation, as seen in Soviet Russia. It is ironic that the right is the only faction proposing coherent solutions to these fundamental problems. A threat to democracy? Democracy is threatened by its own nature, and the abuse of power by liberal democrats (which is everyone not on the so-called "extreme" right).
I see that so many people here are very much in favour of the "right" in the Netherlands. All I can say is this, "Where were you in the last election in the UK where Labour won by a vast majority?"
Joost, The Netherlands
This result was written on the wall. It was obvious to everyone except narrow-minded left wing socialists.
I believe that some of Fortuyn's policies were not only sensible, but also widely felt by the people of many of the more affluent European countries. That's not to say that all of us are racist and I wish no ill will against any creed, race or religion. However, I and many others would prefer to see their own countrymen and their problems taken care of first. The lack of recognition on the part of the French, Dutch and English governments on this matter will lead to patriots becoming more and more extreme. I strongly disagree with racism, but surely one cannot be frowned upon for being a nationalist, and wanting what is best for our own people first.
Congratulations to the late Mr Fortyun's party. A party like his is the only one I would ever bother voting for. I only wish that we get a result like this in the UK.
Keith Baldwin, UK
This means that the Dutch need some elementary lessons in democracy. The first is that simplistic right-wing arguments do not reflect the complexity of modern political and economic life, and certainly do not provide any solutions. The second lesson is that dead politicians do not accomplish much.
Joe from Birmingham, I would just like to bring to your attention that the UK did have a minor success with such a party... or have you forgotten the elections that the BNP won in Burnley. Of course we all know what happened after that.
A shift to the right in Europe is perhaps the biggest threat to world peace and stability since WWII. Don't tell me it's not the same thing. These incremental shifts I have been experiencing during the last decade or so in Europe (and the US) should send alarm bells to upholders of democracy and freedom loving Europeans. Frankly I was shocked and amazed that Fortuyn got so much sympathetic publicity and a state funeral. Europeans are sending out a dangerous message to the world that they are inherently racist, totalitarian and isolationists.
As in Britain today, the liberal elite have turned politics into a gigantic straight jacket where the role of government is rendered useless. It's time to sweep away the complexities of politics and get back to simple policies that are relevant to ordinary people. The far-right seem to have many of these simplistic policies at the moment and it is not a bad thing!
I think it's about time something like this happened. For too many years we have been brainwashed into thinking it was evil or racist to speak out against immigrants. Who remembers the last person to speak out against immigration in the UK. Enoch Powell said in time there would be racial violence on the streets of the UK. Was he wrong (Bradford), I don't think so. My hat goes off to the Dutch voters, they have spoken with their votes and many European countries should follow suit.
I for one would vote for a party that has a tougher line on immigration.
Why is everyone acting so surprised at the success of the far right groups. It was bound to happen one day, despite politicians telling us it wouldn't. Maybe its time politicians in power took more notice of what the majority of people want in countries - an end to huge immigration. If they don't nip this in the bud soon, things will only get worse. Lets be honest about it, multi-culturalism simply does not work. It never has, and it never will!! You look at any largely multi-cultural country, such as Israel, and you will see nothing but violence there. It will happen here soon. If that's what you want, keep voting for the left wing. I'm moving to the right for sure!
The problem with the Dutch Left, as is the problem with most Leftist political groups in the West, is that they ultimately forgot about the will of the people. Too focused on their narrow political agendas, the Dutch Leftists are now learning the hard way that there is a price to be paid for ignoring the best interests of the common voter. I am sure the Purple Coalition did what it thought was best for the nation as a whole, but it would seem the voters vehemently believe otherwise. The rise of men like Fortuyn is just a symptom of voter discontent with Leftist status quo, and it should be seen as a sign of democratic health that the Fortuyn List and the ADC have now been given the reigns. The people have spoken!
Matt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Personally, I am glad that the right wing won in the Dutch elections. There are finally politicians who are representing the desires of the people. Immigration poses a threat for all European nations that wish to retain their culture and customs. Mr. Fortyun's party is responding to the cares of the people. I think this is just the beginning of a step forward for Europe to finally address a problem that has been ignored for so long.
The rise of the far-right in Europe is not the tragedy many people think that it is.
At the end of the day, Pim Fortuyn was no Nazi. He wanted to stop immigration and preserve Dutch sovereignty. What is so bad about that?
Nationality is not about where you are born or which language you speak, it is a matter of ancestry. It is about blood lines.
There will be more to come. There is nothing wrong with wanting to control immigration from regions of the world hostile to western civilization. There is nothing wrong with addressing escalating crime and those groups predominately responsible for committing such crimes. Just because a solution is deemed by an elite as simplistic doesn't mean that it won't work. The elites that have ignored the real problems for the average citizen will have to finally deal with reality or be faced with retirement.
This was extremely predictable. The elections should have been postponed. I think that in showing the world that Dutch democracy would not be stopped by a brutal murder, the electorate has been denied the time it needs to deal with the tragedy of Pim Fortuyn's death. And so, as Wim Kok predicted, we have a lot of people obviously voting with their hearts and not their heads, and treating their ballot papers as a condolence register, and a great mistake may well have been made. Now, Mr. Fortuyn asked a lot of questions that needed asking, but don't for one minute think that he also had the answers.
One thing I have not seen touched upon in any of your coverage of the LPF, is their stated desire to scrap article one of the Dutch constitution - the article that makes discrimination in any form or shape a crime. How many of those writing here who considered him a liberal were aware of that?
Loesje, the Netherlands
The rise of the LPF should be considered a serious comment on current Dutch politics, reigned for eight years by a coalition that has evaded a democratic debate and vote by settling everything beforehand (in the coalition accord, the votes in parliament were merely a confirmation of that accord), and by making political correctness the standard by which everything is measured. Even now more then 90% of the seats in parliament are taken by bureaucrats (civil servants and such). My opinion is that the Dutch voters have sent a signal that government should be 'for the people, by the people'.
I do not think Pim Fortuyn was a racist. His party was working on a philosophy of protecting liberalism. Our far right parties are racialist parties because they seek an "all white Britain." Fortuyn wanted better integration and understanding of his countries liberal views on drugs, sexuality etc. It is strange that in Holland that is what passes for a far right party and in the UK and USA that seems to be more of a centre party in today's climate.
C Peters, UK
I come from Derby in the UK. After the last war a huge displaced persons camp was set up at Aston-on-Trent to the south of the town, and as a result the Derby 'phone book has a distinctly Eastern European look. As a young man my best friends were Polish and Lithuanian. My girlfriends were Polish and Ukrainian first generation born-away. It made no difference to us at time, it still makes no difference. Derby is still there, and has not done badly for it. These things will pass. They always do.
While the murder isn't justifiable at all in any shape or form, Fortuyn's death has brought about three positives; an open (well unavoidable) discussion on immigration and non/integration; an increase in overall voting turnout, when in France and England it had dropped considerably; and lastly the reality that some "liberals" celebrating a right-winger's free expression of his opinion may not be so quick to think: "I'm white, if the BNP/Le Pen/Etc are in power it won't be my problem.".
It is a very encouraging sign that the Dutch have moved so sharply away from the totalitarian socialist mindset.
Here is to a new breath of freedom and pride in heritage, everywhere in the Western World!!
Harry Wentworth, Torquay, Devon, England
The Dutch people have chosen their government and I have no business in commenting on the verdict as its for them to choose. I doubt that the votes of a nation of 16million will have an impact on Europe at all.
Over the next few years, I expect to see more and more Fortuynist parties appearing throughout Europe. The mainstream parties have ignored peoples' concerns for too long and the time has come for a new kind of politics, neither 'right' nor 'left', that better represent the interests and concerns of voters.
The Dutch so-called 'purple' coalition of ideological opposites did its job well, but it was driven by dull, faceless pragmatism. Tonight we see a return of ideology and personal charisma, as well as great drama, into Dutch politics. That explains a large part of the success. An additional boost to the List Pim Fortuyn was due to the strict Dutch laws against racism. Those have eliminated the more traditional far-right parties from the field, leaving behind many 'orphaned' voters who were swept up by the anti-immigration LPF.
Ola Saltin, Denmark
The rise of men like Fortuyn is just a symptom of voter discontent with leftist status quo, and it should be seen as a sign of democratic health that the Fortuyn List and the ADC have now been given the reins. The people have spoken!
It will have serious consequences for Dutch politics in the short-term -- most notably the formation of a stable government -- but might have little effect on Dutch (let alone European) politics in the long run. The List Pim Fortuyn is bound to implode sooner rather than later, by which time the established party will by and large return to business as usual, though with a better sales technique.
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