Thierry Baudet has withdrawn himself as leader of the Forum for Democracy and also no longer wants to be the frontrunner for the upcoming Dutch elections in March. This comes after anti-semitic and homophobic messages were leaked from app groups by the youth branch of the FvD, which in turn caused a lot of friction amongst the top brass of the party.
“I’m relinquishing my place on the electoral list. I make my position available. I will stay in the Chamber,” says Baudet. The leader does want to remain involved in Forum, possibly as a lijstduwer (“list pusher,” a Dutch term describing the last candidate on a party list).
That is what he said on Twitter:
— Forum voor Democratie (@fvdemocratie) November 23, 2020
Party in crisis after anti-Semitic and homophobic messages were leaked
The direct reason for Baudet stepping down is the unrest in his party about the FvD youth section. The youth branch was severely discredited because anti-Semitic and homophobic app traffic had leaked out between members of the youth branch. Several prominent figures, including FvD’s number two, Theo Hiddema, are alleged to have demanded that the entire youth section would be shut down.
“No trial by media”
Baudet decided earlier, allegedly together with the party leadership, that there would be an internal investigation into the youth section. However, a large majority of party leaders believe that this is not enough. They also want the chairman of the JFvD, Freek Jansen, to step down altogether and give up his seventh place on the electoral list. Jansen is a confidant of Baudet.
Zolang #JFVD-voorzitter Freek Jansen niet uit Forum wordt gedonderd, stelt iedere schoonmaakaktie geen donder voor. Maar met zijn vertrek is het probleem nog niet weg. Het zit veel dieper en #Baudet liet dat toe en deed eraan mee. #nosjournaal pic.twitter.com/g1EvtrtIcn
— Elsschot 🇪🇺🇳🇱#ikdoewelmee 😷 (@marcelbar8) November 22, 2020
Jansen finds it incomprehensible that people do not want to wait for this investigation, according to the NOS. “We are now threatening to throw people in front of the bus even before we know what has happened,” says Jansen. “I cannot agree with the situation where ‘trial by media’ is becoming the way we treat people in this party.”
Forum for Democracy had a strong presence in the polls two years ago. However, over the past several months, the party has been losing virtual seats due to political discord about the course of the party and flirts with conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists.