Thierry Baudet away as leader, party chairman and leader, Theo Hiddema stopped as a member of parliament and also Senator Paul Cliteur quit. And now Baudet says in a video that he is still making himself available as the leader of Forum for Democracy, which disregards the party‘s administration as a ‘one-mansaction‘. A majority has now expelled him from the board.
How do Forum voters look at this exceptionally turbulent period?
Flower merchant Dave van der Meer (51) finds the chaos disappointing. He sees FvD as the ideal party to fill the gap between the VVD and the PVV of Geert Wilders. “But there is no point in voting for a club of people who are fighting with each other rolling down the hall. We have seen that at the LPF nationwide and that is not a good thing.”
Van der Meer therefore sees it gloomy in:
The youth department of Forum, JFVD, came into conflict when Het Parool published last weekend that anti-Semitic, homophobic and Nazi expressions were circulating in app groups. Baudet, after discussion about dealing with the JFVD, resigned as a leader, but wanted to continue as a list pusher. First MP Annabel Nanninga then demanded that Baudet leave the party because, according to her, he destroyed it.
fact that Baudet now calls for a leadership election Van der Meer calls a separate turn. “I’m not sure what to think of it. The only medicine that works right now is rest. And who or what achieves it does not matter.”
Voter support for Forum for Democracy has been declining throughout the year. These are figures from the Polling Guide, an average of the polls of Ipsos, I&O Research and Kantar:
According to Van der Meer, the party summit should have distanced itself more quickly and more explicitly from the controversial app traffic in the youth branch. As a former LPF Councilman, Van der Meer knows how media can be focused on the subject of extremist thought.
“ I have nothing to do with extreme right-wing figures, but that thought is quickly spread to you. That hint that now hangs around the youth department, you have to tackle very clearly. Because I think 99 percent of people who vote for Forum are just looking for a normal right-wing party.”
CCEit Stories spoke to a number of members of the JFVD. One of them is angry at the young people who sent the controversial messages. “I am ashamed of the apps, because they have nothing to do with the views of Forum for Democracy,” says one of them.
Another member thinks that fuss about the apps too short through the bend. “It is more false humor, which is accepted among young people. And I don‘t mean just JFVD youngsters.” Another JFVD member totally disagreed with that. This person said, “There was a huge amount of extremism in the group apps, and the messages often went too far.”
Student Roan de Fouw also thought it was a good decision by Baudet to resign his position immediately. He thinks that the former leader now seems to want to reverse that decision is a bad thing. “He decided to quit himself, so it’s really weird to come up with a video like this.”
Here Baudet says, before he was expelled from the board by a majority, what he wants to do now:
“ He needs to understand that it‘s done once,” continues the 23-year-old FVD voter. According to De Fouw, the former party leader has been too often negative in the news recently. Among other things, he refers to the striking owl of Minerva speech last year, when FvD had become nationwide the largest party in the Provincial State elections.
According to De Fouw, this kind of behavior distracts from the content. “I think many people don’t vote for Forum because they think Baudet is a scary man, while they do support the views.” The internal struggle is at the expense of the party, he thinks. “It‘s already a lot of chaos and he’s making things worse now”, he refers to Baudet‘s video.
On Twitter it becomes clear that some Forum supporters are taking it right for Baudet and his decision:
George Brouwer (48) had voted for the FVD branch in Zandvoort in the Provincial Statenelections. Locally, the party had good ideas, he thinks. “Only in the ‘real‘ rural politics it is a big crap.” He can hardly believe Baudet is running again.
“ If he really does what he says, he is as unbelievable as the plague. You can’t leave and just come back. I think it will do even more damage to the party.”
Rear of tongue
That member of parliament Theo Hiddema has resigned, Brouwer fully understands. “He clearly shows that he does not want to be part of this anymore. It is not good that anti-Semitism is increasing in the youth department, as I read it.”
Brouwer is very curious about what happened behind the scenes. Because he has the idea that the leaders of the party do not have theposterior of the tongue. In the end it doesn‘t matter much for voice: next year it will be CDA for him. “The safe middle ground and my grandfather’s party.”