Fortuyn's party rises in polls after murder

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The Independent Online

The party created by the murdered right-winger Pim Fortuyn looks likely to become part of the Dutch government after a poll predicted it would be catapulted to second place in tomorrow's elections.

Dutch voters are predicted to deliver a resounding rejection of the present social democrat-dominated government, and to deliver a huge sympathy vote to Mr Fortuyn's party.

The events surrounding Mr Fortuyn's assassination last week have made the election the most unpredictable in recent memory. Without its founder, the Lijst Pim Fortuyn has no real leader, few experienced politicians and few policies. The atmosphere remains tense and the uncertainty has been compounded by the decision to abandon campaigning as a mark of respect for Mr Fortuyn.

Yesterday's poll, by the NIPO research bureau for 2Vandaag, a television programme, predicts that his party, formed less than three months ago, will be the second largest bloc in the parliament, trailing only the Christian Democrats, who lost office in 1994. That puts Lisjt Fortuyn in a position to win ministerial offices.

The survey gave the Pim Fortuyn list 18.5 per cent of the vote, up from 17 per cent on 1 May, while the Christian Democrats would take 20.5 per cent. The biggest losers are likely to be the social democrats, whose support has dropped to 16.5 per cent from 29 per cent at the 1998 elections.

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