Never a dull moment: Pim Fortuyn and the Dutch parliamentary election of 2002


Holsteyn, Joop van and Irwin, Galen A. (2003) Never a dull moment: Pim Fortuyn and the Dutch parliamentary election of 2002. West European Politics, 26 (2). pp. 41-66. ISSN 0140-2382

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Abstract:The 2002 parliamentary election in the Netherlands will always be associated with the name of Pim Fortuyn. His murder only nine days before the election was the first political assassination in the Netherlands in more than 300 years. The sudden success of the new party he had founded, coupled with the major losses for the Labour and Liberal parties, made this an historic election. This article attempts to understand the motivations of the voters at this election, in particular the voters of the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF). It is first shown that the conventional wisdom, which assumes voting based on religion and social class, and voting along ideological issue lines, has lost its ability to explain voter behaviour in the Netherlands. An explanation based on retrospective economic voting is also rejected. The success of the LPF is accounted for by the popularity of Fortuyn and his appeal among those who had cynical attitudes towards government or who were dissatisfied with the performance of the incumbent government. The popularity of Fortuyn is shown to have been related to political issues, in particular those relating to asylum seekers and the integration of foreigners in the country.
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