May 17, 2002


"Nobodies" will shape a nation's future (M CORNWELL, 5/17/02, The Scotsman)

Pim's people made their first appearance in the Netherlands parliament yesterday, after an election that turned Dutch politics on its head.

Twenty-six newly minted MPs, from a party that has made the most surprising debut in 50 years of European politics, toured the seat of government pursued by a wall of reporters as confused as anyone else by the results of the elections.

"They're nobodies," muttered a shocked Dutch journalist under his breath. "Nobodies."

The stories making the rounds about the members of Pim Fortuyn's List, elected as Netherlands' second largest political party ten days after his murder, were truly scurrilous. One was rumoured to be mentally unstable, another a pedlar of web porn. But perhaps the most unlikely of the new MPs was Herman Wiersma, six times world draughts champion.

"I hope to do something more to promote my game," he said. [...]

Mr Herben yesterday denied reports that Winnie de Jong, elected fourth on the list, was mentally unstable, after she wept in front of the television cameras on election night and said how glad she was the party had not placed first. "She was over-exhausted," he said. [...]

Mr Fortuyn cobbled together his list of candidates in a matter of weeks. One of the party's new deputy chairmen is João Varela, a 27-year-old of Cape Verdean origin who worked for a cosmetic company. He was reportedly recruited soon after he knocked on the door of Mr Fortuyn's Rotterdam home.

And so Dutch government takes on the quality of King of Hearts with Larry Flynt and Willy Loman thrown in for good measure.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2002 12:25 PM
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