Fortuyn named E.U. politician of the year
Murdered Dutch populist politician Pim Fortuyn has won another election from beyond the grave. The openly gay maverick politician, who was assassinated in May, was among those selected as "European of the Year," voted on by readers of the Brussels weekly European Voice; the other winners are Pope John Paul and European Commission president Romano Prodi. Gunned down two weeks before his party rose from obscurity to win second place in the Netherlands' general election, Fortuyn was voted politician of the year "in recognition of his invigoration of the Dutch political scene before he was assassinated." A panel of journalists and opinion leaders from across the European Union selected 50 nominees as those they felt had most shaped the E.U. agenda in the past year, and European Voice readers then voted on the nominees.
Fortuyn had sent shock waves through the Dutch political system by calling for a halt to immigration and branding Islam "backward." An animal rights activist has been charged with his murder. But his fledgling party faces a virtual wipeout in another general election called for next month following internal feuding that led to the fall of the center-right government in October.