Anti-EU Populists ‘Forum for Democracy’ Surprisingly Win Provincial Elections in Netherlands
Leader Thierry Baudet has been advocating “Nexit” but might have modified his views recently in light of the Brexit quagmire.
The upstart anti-EU far-right populist party “Forum for Democracy” (Forum voor Democratie, FvD) led by Thierry Baudet has emerged as the big winner in Wednesday’s provincial elections in the Netherlands.
Baudet’s “Forum for Democracy” won the largest number of votes throughout the Netherlands, and will take 12 seats in the Dutch Senate in May, its first seats in the legislative body, based on most of the election votes already counted, DutchNews reports.
The election results will thus see Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands for almost a decade now, lose his Senate majority. The election turnout was 56%, substantially higher than in the previous vote.
Forum for Democracy was founded in 2016 by its leader Thierry Baudet as a think tank. It advocates “Nexit” – the Netherlands’ exit from the EU, like Brexit, and denies climate change.
“Arrogance and stupidity have been punished. We are being ruined by the people who should be protecting us,” Baudet declared in his victory speech.
“We are being undermined by universities and journalists, by the people who design our buildings,” he went on.
“Successive Rutte governments have left our borders wide open, letting in hundreds of thousands of people with cultures completely different to ours,” stated the 36-year-old self-styled intellectual
The election win of Baudet and his “Forum for Democracy” come just days after Monday’s terrorist attack in the Dutch city of Utrecht, in which a man originally from Turkey killed 3 people and wounded 6 others after opening fire inside a tram, and just two months before the 2019 EU elections.
The results from Wednesday’s provincial vote in the Netherlands are a blow to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose party ruling right-wing party VVP also won 12 seats, down from 13.
His ruling coalition of four parties, in power since 2017, is down to 31 out of a total of 75 Senate seats, and will need the support of a fifth partner to be able to pass legislation. A likely partner might be the Green Left Party (Groenlinks) which has more than doubled its Senate seats, from 4 to 9.
“We are going to have to get to work. We have to talk with other parties so we can continue to lead this country well,” Rutte told supporters on Wednesday night.
The biggest losers of the Dutch provincial elections, however, are the most prominent far-right populist party in the Netherlands to date, Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV, down from 9 to 5 seats, and the Socialists who are down from 9 to 4.
Baudet and his Forum for Democracy were recently criticized for refusing to stop campaigning in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Utrecht.
Baudet has been an advocate of Nexit but has recently seemed to have moderated his views in light of the difficulties the UK is experiencing over Brexit.
He has also made controversial statements on other topics such as the role of women by saying that “women in general excel less in jobs and have less ambition”.
(Banner image: Video grab from Forum for Democracy on YouTube)