Netherlands. It was a stormy year in the Netherlands,
with the first political murder in modern history. According
Countryaah website, two
governments resigned and the country was led by an
expedition minister at the end of the year ahead of the
planned new elections in January 2003.
In mid-April, Prime Minister Wim Kok left his post and
his entire government followed suit. The cause was an
official report that blamed Dutch UN soldiers for the
massacre of Muslims in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica in
1995. However, the government continued as an interim
government until the parliamentary elections a month later.
Already in connection with the municipal elections in
March, it had become clear that the political map was being
redrawn. A newly formed, anti-immigrant party led by the
controversial Pim Fortuyn won in Rotterdam. He was negative
mainly towards Muslims because he claimed that they
threatened the traditionally tolerant society in the
Netherlands. He himself was openly gay. Before the
parliamentary elections, the party was renamed Lijst Pim
Fortuyn (LPF) and this was strongly reflected in opinion
polls. But May 6, just nine days before the election,
Fortuyn was shot dead in the open street. The perpetrator
was an animal rights activist who was arrested immediately.
The election was held as planned, despite the
assassination. LPF became the second largest party, with 17%
of the vote. The Christian Democratic CDA won by 28%. Kok's
workers' party PvdA lost substantially and almost halved its
mandate. After lengthy coalition negotiations, a right-wing
government was formed in July with the CDA, the LPF and the
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Jan Peter
Balkenende became prime minister. It became a short-lived
government; after almost three months, it collapsed due to
contradictions within the LPF. CDA and the VVD continued as
the Ministry of Expedition.
In February, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander married
Argentine Máxima Zorreguieta. There was some criticism when
the bride's father Jorge Zorreguieta had a past as minister
during the military dictatorship in Argentina 1976-83. The
father did not come to the wedding for security reasons.