Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn (Dutch: [ˈpɪm fɔrˈtœyn] (listen); 19 February 1948 – 6 May 2002), was a Dutch politician who formed his own party, Pim Fortuyn List (Lijst Pim Fortuyn or LPF) in 2002.
Fortuyn had controversial views on multiculturalism, immigration and Islam in the Netherlands. He called Islam “a backward culture”, and was quoted as saying that if it were legally possible, he would close the borders for Muslim immigrants. Fortuyn also supported tougher measures against crime and opposed state bureaucracy, wanting to reduce Dutch financial contribution to the European Union. He was labelled a far-right populist by his opponents and in the media, but he fiercely rejected this label. Fortuyn was openly homosexual and was a supporter of gay rights.
Fortuyn explicitly distanced himself from “far-right” politicians such as the Belgian Filip Dewinter, the Austrian Jörg Haider, or Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Pen whenever compared to them. While he compared his own politics to centre-right politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Edmund Stoiber of Germany, he also admired former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl, a social democrat, and Democratic U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Fortuyn also criticised the polder model and the policies of the outgoing government of Wim Kok and repeatedly described himself and LPF‘s ideology as pragmatic and not populistic. In March 2002, his newly created LPF in the Dutch municipal elections became the largest party in Fortuyn’s hometown Rotterdam.
Fortuyn was assassinated during the 2002 Dutch national election campaign by Volkert van der Graaf, a left-wing environmentalist and animal rights activist. In court at his trial, van der Graaf said he murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as “scapegoats” and targeting “the weak members of society” in seeking political power.