Thierry Baudet announced his departure on Monday as leader and party leader of Forum for Democracy, followed by some party leaders. Today he is running for a leader election announced by him. It leads to anger on board and confusion among Forum voters.
How could there be so much consternation within the party in such a short period of time? A timeline:
Saturday 21 November: an article in Het Parool describes extremist statements in app groups of the Forum voor Democracy Youth Organization. Several JFVD members make anti-Semitic and homophobic statements in these groups. Also, Nazisympathies are shared. Following the article, the JFVD has removed a number of coordinators from their position.
It is not the first time that the youth branch of the party has been compromised. In the spring, app messages with the same effect leaked out. A number of members who were concerned about the messages and knocked on the board of Forum were disbarred. They would have sent “libelous material “to the media.
Sunday 22 November: the board of the JFVD temporarily resigns. President Freek Jansen emphasises in a written statement that racism and anti-Semitic ideas have no place in our association. A committee of inquiry will be set up consisting of First Chamber member Paul Cliteur, Member of Parliament Wybren van Haga and Forum treasurer Olaf Ephraim.
Monday 23 November: top candidates on the Forum list demand the dissolution of the youth organisation. First Member of Parliament and group chairman in Amsterdam Annabel Nanninga calls it “unacceptable that people with these kinds of ideas are in our party and that they are not immediately harsh.”
Nanninga receives the support of MEP Rob Roos. Second man in the House of Representatives, Theo Hiddema, goes less far and wants only the young people who sent extremist messages to be expelled from the party.
Crisis deliberations will take place at the Forum party office in Amsterdam, with JFVD chairman Freek Jansen also present. At the beginning of the evening, Baudet announced in a video that he is stepping up as leader and political leader of Forum.
The summit of the party meets later in the evening in Tiel, without Baudet. Vice-President Van der Linden then announced that Baudets position was sustainable. “I didnt have to, but he really felt he had to do this.” He doesnt blame the former party leader. “We spoke well today, there was no quarrel.”
Tuesday 24 November: Nanninga demands that Baudet be removed from the board of Forum as well. Shortly thereafter, the Board announces that Baudet is indeed resigning the presidency. Vice-President Van der Linden takes up the position for the time being. It also becomes clear that JFVD President Jansen is making his seventh place on the Forum electoral list available. Until further notice, the Youth Department shall be placed “at a distance” from the Party.
That same day, member of parliament Theo Hiddema resigned. According to several sources, the criminal advocate was certainly not happy with the work of the youth department. Paul Cliteur, intellectual mentor of Baudet, also leaves as a member of the House. He, according to his own words, can no longer provide the motivation to move on. Cliteur will remain a member of the party.
Today, Wednesday 25 November: In a video on Twitter, Baudet announces that Forum leadership elections will be held in a few days – on 30 November and 1 December – in a few days. Hes running himself for that. It becomes clear that he does not intend to give up his leading role in the party after all.
The board is being robbed by the action. Three out of five board members turn against Baudet. According to Baudet, the board has replaced the locks of the party office in Amsterdam and can no longer enter there. At the moment, the board says that it does not have access to various ICT systems and social media channels of Forum. A newsletter was sent to members today, without the board knowing anything about it.
“ The party cannot function as it should throughout the course of events. Moreover, the party is seriously discredited. That is totally unacceptable,” says in a statement from the board. The board members are considering disbarring Baudet.
“ Have these people gone crazy? I founded the Forum for Democracy,” says the former party leader in a response. “Now lets see what the members want.”