Learn more about Livable Netherlands
 Party History
Historically there have always been parties in provincial and municipal legislatures that were independent from the national party system. In the predominantly Roman 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 provide much result, although independent parties were still very successful in municipal elections especially in Hilversum and Utrecht.
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 cabinet Kok. 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 Tweede Kamer.
In the elections of 2003, self help guru Emile Ratelband was put forward by the party board as their candidate for the lijsttrekkers' position. Teeven, who had gained some recognition as MP, withdrew his candidacy for the position when a motion of no confidence was not supported by the party's congress. During a tumultuous congress, the twenty-two year old Haitske van der Linde, the daughter of TV personality Wubbo van der Linde and candidate of the party's youth movement J@L, was elected lijsttrekker. She was unable to hold on to the two seats the party held, and the party left parliament. Ratelband, who had formed his own list, was still less successful in the polls. The party tried to abolish itself, but there were not enough members present at the congress to do that, after which the party moved out of public perception. In 2006 the party announced that it would disband it self: it had a large debt from the Ministry of Home Affairs, who had lend them money for the 2003 elections, and had only a handful of paying members left.
The term Leefbaar was turned into a political brand by the Leefbaar Utrecht and Hilversum parties; the founders tried to reproduce this success by taking over the name.
 Ideology & Issues
The party was a populist party, oriented at democratizing society and solving several difficult political issues pragmatically. The party saw itself as a movement against the 'old parties' and especially those cooperating in the Kok II cabinet.
They had a ten point plan which included:
- implementing referenda
- combatting bureaucracy
- strengthening the citizen's say over his own life.
- a just asylum-seeker policy
In this table the election results of the LN 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.
|2002||2||0||0||Fred Teeven||Fred Teeven||opposition|
|2003||0||0||0||Haitske van der Linde||not in parliament||extra-parliamenary|
 Muncipal and Provincial Government
The municipal and local Leefbaar parties were not an official part of the party. Some of these parties, most notably Leefbaar Rotterdam were however founded around the same time hoping to gain from the same momentum. Many of these parties are represented in provincial and municipal executive and cooperated in several municipal executives. They were highly successful in the 2002 municipal elections, but lost much of their support in the 2006 municipal elections
The party was supported by many independent voters, who no longer felt connected to a particular party.
 Organizational structure
The highest organ of the LN is the congress in which every member can participate. It convenes once every year. It appoints the party board and decides the order of the First Chamber, Second Chamber, European Parliament candidates list and has the last say over the party program.
 Linked organisations
The party's youth organisation was called Jong@Leefbaar.nl (Young@Livable.nl; J@L). The party published De Leefbaar Koerier (Livable Courier). The scientific institute of the party was called Foundation Scientific Bureau Livable Netherlands, which published De Fundering (The Foundation).
 International Comparison
Internationally, Leefbaar Nederland may be compared to Forza Italia, a populist party centered around a prominent media personality.
 External links