Fortuyn's heirs eclipsed as big parties move right

There are no television cameras at Overschie market in Rotterdam and just one local newspaper journalist has turned up for the arrival of the leader of the party made famous by the murdered anti-immigration campaigner Pim Fortuyn.

In 2002, Olaf Stuger made his mark by flying overnight in a freight plane from his holiday in Lanzarote to get a chance to meet Mr Fortuyn, and now heads the party which bares the name of the assassinated leader.

But, though the Fortuyn party won 26 parliamentary seats four years ago, Mr Stuger's ambition is to win just two seats in today's Dutch elections. Ignored by the Dutch media and sidelined in the national debate, many believe Mr Stuger's target is over-optimistic.

Four years after the demise of Mr Fortuyn, who was murdered by an animal rights activist, no fewer than four fringe parties are battling for the votes of his supporters. They have to compete with mainstream politicians like Rita Verdonk, the outgoing immigration minister from the VVD Liberals, who has announced plans to ban the burqa.

Ms Verdonk's party is struggling to maintain its place in a ruling coalition but the prime minister and Christian Democrat leader Jan Peter Balkenende is likely to return to power, possibly in a broad coalition with the socialist opposition.

Mr Stuger is sitting in a school bus which serves as a mobile campaign headquarters as he declares: "The mainstream parties have taken some of our issues, like immigration, but not the issue of integration."

In a restaurant a few miles away, the man many believe to be the real heir to Mr Fortuyn is Marco Pastors, leader of the Een NL (One Netherlands) party, who argues that radical Islam is being appeased in the same way as Nazism was in 1930s Germany. "There are big similarities," he says. "There were indications that developments in Germany were going the wrong way; that Germany was preparing for war; that Germany was making the Jews the scapegoat."

Mr Pastors criticises customs such as arranged marriages, lack of tolerance of homosexuality and lack of freedom to renounce the Islamic faith. He adds: "No one took measures against what Germany was doing. What we are doing is not taking actions against Muslims in quarters where they are living."

At one point Mr Pastors thought he could win dozens of seats, but now he is aiming for about 10. He considers his main rival to be Geert Wilders, a former member of the VVD Liberals who now leads the Party of Freedom. Outspoken in his criticism of Islam, Mr Wilders is under 24-hour police protection.

Another populist politician, Hilbrand Nawijn, can also reasonably lay claim to the mantle of Mr Fortuyn. A former member of Mr Fortuyn's group, Mr Nawijn heads a new Party for the Netherlands. Mr Pastors admits that the Fortuyn "heritage is scattered" and that his failure to unite with kindred spirits "could be one of the things I regret".

Populist right-wingers have suffered from the disastrous, fractious, role the Fortuyn party played in a short-lived government in 2002. But most of all they have been squeezed by mainstream politicians such as Ms Verdonk whose tough line against immigrants has been a prominent feature of the government.

Marc Peeperkorn, political correspondent of the Volkskrant newspaper, argues: "What we are seeing in the election is the end of the Fortuyn story. Mainstream parties have taken his policies on board".

At the bus stop in Overschie, Yvonne Measter, an audio engineer and former Fortuyn supporter who plans to vote socialist, agrees. "I voted for him once but not now," she says. "He has charisma and stood up for things. But Pim is not there any more."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum