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Right-Wing Dutch Politician Shot

May 6, 2002 GMT

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Right-wing Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was shot in the head Monday and seriously wounded, Dutch Radio said.

Police in Hilversum, where the attack reportedly took place, said they had no immediate information and could not confirm the report.

He was founder of Leefbaar Nederland (Livable Netherlands), which stunned the Netherlands in March when it won 35 percent of the vote for city council seats in Rotterdam, the second-largest city.

Fortuyn advocates a ban on immigration and has criticized Islam as a ``backward culture.″ Although he no longer leads the party, polls project that it could win 24 seats in the 150-member parliament in May 15 national elections.

The radio said Fortuyn (pronounced fore-TOWN)was shot at least three times in the head but was still alive. Ambulance was seen at the Hilversum Media Park, where the Dutch national broadcasting company is based. Hilversum is about 10 miles southeast of Amsterdam.

The reported attack against Fortuyn, 53, came nine days before national elections. Opinion polls predicted the flamboyant politician, campaigning on an anti-immigrant platform, would lead one of the largest parties in parliament.

The flamboyant, shaven-headed former academic and columnist leads an openly gay lifestyle, supports personal liberties, and has laid claim to leadership of Holland’s perennially vacant political right.

Fortuyn as dictated debate with verbal attacks on the country’s growing Muslim population and with an indictment of the shortcomings of what many other Europeans see as one of the most successful countries on the continent.