Centre Party (Netherlands)
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The Centre Party (in Dutch: Centrumpartij, CP) was a Dutch nationalist political party espousing an anti-immigrant program. The CP was methodically isolated by the other parties in the Dutch Parliament.
 Party History
The CP was founded in 1980 by former members of the Dutch People's Union (Nederlandse Volksunie, NVU), a nationalist political party with fascist and national-socialist tendencies. In 1978 the party was formally banned by a Dutch court. Some members, who lacked the national-socialist sympathies of NVU-leader Glimmerveen, left the party and founded the National Centre Party (NCP) in 1979. They were led by Brookman. In February 1980 some radical NCP members harassed Moroccan refugees who held a hunger strike at the Moses- and Aaronchurch in Amsterdam. This led to a conflict within the NCP. Brookman dissolved the NCP and founded the Centre Party CP. The party contested unsuccessfully in the 1981 elections.
In the 1982 the party won one seat. It was taken by Hans Janmaat. In the 1984 European elections the party won 2,5% of vote, but no seats. Meanwhile an internal conflict arose within the party. Janmaat thought that by steering a more moderate course the CP would able to attract more voters at the polls. In 1984 he came into conflict over this with the party board. First he was forced to step down as party chairman, and later he was removed from the party entirely. Janmaat, with some sympathisers, founded the Centre Democrats and kept his seat in parliament. The CP became even more isolated. It suffered from heavy internal struggles, which were very costly. In 1986 the CP and CD organized a reconciliation meeting in Kedichem. This was turned into a disaster by radical anti-fascists. A group of anti-fascist activists set the hotel of the meeting on fire, causing several heavy injuries. No attempts to reconcile would be made thereafter. The CP, like the CD, was unable to obtain a seat in the 1986 election.
In 1986 the CP was officially declared bankrupt. The party re-organized itself under the name Centrum Party 1986 (Centre Party 1986, CP'86). They were never able to obtain any seats in national elections since then, and were eventually abrogated in 1998 by a Dutch court, because of the racist and xenophobic statements of its party board on a 1995 meeting. Several former members founded the New National Party and the People's Nationalists Netherlands in 1998. These organizations still have an isolated existence.
 Ideology & Issues
Its 1981 party program was called "Eigen volk eerst" (Own People First). In it the party stated that it would resist the uncontrolled invasion of hundreds of thousands of criminals and parasiting foreigners in our overpopulated country. The CP also wanted to strengthen ties with White South Africa, which was boycotted because of its apartheid regime. The 1982 party program had a more moderate title: "Niet rechts, niet links" ("Not right-wing, not left-wing"). Here it stated that it wanted defend the interests of the people and Dutch sovereignty.
 Leadership & Support
In this table the election results of the CP in Tweede Kamer, Eerste Kamer and European elections is represented, as well as the party's political leadership: the fractievoorzitter, is the chair of the parliamentary party and the lijsttrekker is the party's top candidate in the general election, these posts are normally taken by the party's leader.
|1982||1||0||0||Hans Janmaat||Hans Janmaat|
|1983||1||0||0||no elections||Hans Janmaat|
|1984||0*||0||0||no elections||Hans Janmaat|
|1985||0*||0||0||no elections||Hans Janmaat|
*: In 1984 the party's sole representative in parliament, Hans Janmaat, became an independent MP.
 Muncipal and Provincial Government
The CP performed particularly in several municipalities. In Almere it gained 9% of vote, and a considerable number of seats in the municipal council. The CP never participated in any local governments.
The electorate of the CD was made up out of the poorer layers of society, who lived in urban areas with a lot immigration.
 Party Organization
The CP had a very centralized, personalised organisation with strongman Janmaat, who serving as both chair of the parliamentary party and chair of the party's organization. He was unable to manage the strong internal divisions within his party, which would cause his downfall.
 Linked organization
 Relationships to other parties
The CP was methodically isolated by the other parties in parliament.
 International Comparison
As a small isolated nationalist party the CP can best be compared to the 1980s Belgian Vlaams Blok or the German Republicans. Comparisons with Pim Fortuyn's party fail both from an ideological and an organizational perspective: Fortuyn was more liberal and moderate than the CP; furthermore his party appealed to considerably more voters and was not isolated, but instead immediately became part of the first Balkenende cabinet.