General elections were held in the Netherlands on 15 May 2002. The elections were amongst the most dramatic in Dutch history, not just in terms of the electoral results, as they were completely overshadowed by the assassination of politician Pim Fortuyn only nine days before election day. Fortuyn's party made a huge leap from nothing to 17% of the seats, making it the second largest party. Fortuyn had especially attacked immigration policies and also questioned many aspects of government by the previous 'purple' cabinets of Wim Kok, which he blamed for everything from crime to waiting lists in health services.
The 15 May 2002 election was the beginning of a year of political chaos in the Netherlands following the LPF leader's assassination on 6 May the same year. The power vacuum resulted in violent internal conflicts in LPF, which eventually led to the fall of the first Balkenende cabinet (CDA-LPF-VVD), which governed from 22 July 2002 to 16 October 2002. The CDA once again became a coalition party after eight years in opposition (1994–2002) in a government which, however, became the shortest-ruling Dutch cabinet since the Second World War, lasting less than five months.