Livable Netherlands

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Livable Netherlands (Dutch: Leefbaar Nederland, LN) was a Dutch political party. Pim Fortuyn began his political career in the party.


Party history

Historically there have always been parties in States-Provincial (provincial legislatures) and Gemeenteraad (municipal assemblies or city councils) that were independent from the national party system. In the predominantly Catholic south of the Netherlands, the Catholic People's Party gained eighty percent of the vote in national elections, local and provincial groups of independents were organized.

During the 1980s, independent parties began to spread to other parts of the Netherlands. Some successful groups like Independent Rijswijk began to move towards a national movement. A congress for this purpose held in 1989 did not result in much progress towards this goal, although independent parties were still very successful in municipal elections especially in Hilversum and Utrecht.

Some of them choose the name "Leefbaar" (liveable). It became a distinctive political movement. It is not a party in itself but consisted of many municipal branches. These branches had no formal ties, and often have radically different programs, sharing only their disdain for the political establishment.

In 1999, prominent media personalities Henk Westbroek and Jan Nagel, chairs of the highly successful Leefbaar Utrecht and Leefbaar Hilversum parties respectively, founded Leefbaar Nederland as a spin off from their local parties. Nagel became the party's chair. Nagel had previously been chair of the VARA, a broadcaster linked to the PvdA.

In 2001 the party's support and visibility began to increase. They came to be seen as an opposition movement against the second Kok cabinet. In November 2001 Pim Fortuyn was elected as the party's lijsttrekker. On February 10, a few months before the election he was discharged because of a controversial interview published in the Volkskrant newspaper. Fortuyn subsequently organized his own party, the Lijst Pim Fortuyn. On March 10, the Amsterdam public prosecutor Fred Teeven was chosen as new lijsttrekker. In the elections of May 2002 the party won only two seats in the House of Representatives.

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