The Fortuyn Effect revisited: How did the LPF affect the Dutch parliamentary party system?

Abstract

The List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) is a key example of a family of new right-wing parties that, according to many observers, have had a strong effect on European party systems. This article studies the effect of the entry of the LPF into the Dutch Parliament on the parliamentary party system. The article looks at two aspects of the party system: first, did the LPF affect the issue agenda of the legislature? And second, has the LPF been able to create a new significant line of conflict in the legislature, as Kriesi and Frey and Pellikaan et al observed for the electoral arena? Or, as Van der Brug and Bale have proposed, is the Dutch party system after Fortuyn essentially one-dimensional? The study looks at new, behavioral, data from the Dutch legislature: parliamentary voting behavior and the sponsorship of motions, to answer these questions. It employs Poole's Open Classification method to understand the patterns underlying voting behavior.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There was even a third ‘new’ party: the CU. The RPF and the GPV, two small orthodox Protestant parties with seats in parliament, merged to form the CU in 2001.They won their first seats in parliament in 2002. This merger is not a real new party (Rochon, 1985, p. 437, footnotes 6, 10). In the analysis of 2002, the RPF and the GPV are taken together because even before merging they voted the same in 98 per cent of the votes.

  2. 2.

    The 22 categories are ‘Macro-Economy and Taxation’, ‘Civil Rights, Integration and Migration’, ‘Health care’, ‘Agriculture and Fisheries’, ‘Labour’, ‘Education and Culture’, ‘the Environment’, ‘Energy’, ‘Transport’, ‘Justice, the Judiciary and Crime’, ‘Social Affairs’, ‘Community Development, Housing and Urban Planning’, ‘Enterprise, Banks and Internal Trade’, ‘Defense’, ‘Science, Technology and Communication’, ‘Foreign Trade’, ‘Foreign Affairs’, ‘Democracy and Governance’, ‘Spatial Planning, Nature and Water Management’, ‘Moral Issues’, ‘Development Cooperation’ and ‘Others/Uncodeable’.

  3. 3.

    A regression model was estimated where the two dimensions from the analysis were used as independent variables and the values from the expert survey as dependent variables. These regression coefficients can be interpreted geometrically. In this case, a line was drawn with slope b2/b1 a procedure which yields similar results as Van der Brug (1997, pp. 60–62).

  4. 4.

    In the period 2002–2003, there were a very limited number of votes. The subset of coalition-initiated votes on specific issues is so small that they cannot be scaled for almost all issues. Therefore, both coalition and opposition sponsored votes were used for the analyses per issue category.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful for the discussions at the ECPR Political Parties Standing Group Summer School (2009) and at a workshop at the ECPR Joint Sessions (2010). The comments of Peter Mair (EUI/Florence) were appreciated in particular. He wants to thank Maarten Marx for making his data available. He is also thankful for the critical comments from Rudy Andeweg, Huib Pellikaan, Tom Louwerse (Leiden University) and the anonymous reviewers of Acta Politica.

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Otjes, S. The Fortuyn Effect revisited: How did the LPF affect the Dutch parliamentary party system?. Acta Polit 46, 400–424 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2011.12

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Keywords

  • party positions
  • Dutch politics
  • party systems
  • parliamentary arena
  • new political parties