It started with two out of 150 seats in the Dutch lower house: In the parliamentary elections of 2017, the young philosopher Thierry Baudet and lawyer Theo Hiddema were able to move into the Parliament for the first time with the “Forum for Democracy” (FvD). The 36-year-old party leader Baudet is considered a figurehead of the movement, which began as a think tank. He is considered smart, cultured and charming, writes the newspaper “Rheinische Post”.
The young party has set an agenda that is very similar to that of other right-wing populist parties: reducing Dutch participation in political decisions, lessening the influence of the European Union and reducing the power of the “political elite”, according to the Dutch radio station NPO. But the “Forum for Democracy” is also in favor of a more restrictive immigration policy, with Baudet warning in its program of a “homeopathic dilution” of the population.
Right-wing party on the rise
Other program items, according to the party's website, include the reintroduction of border controls, tougher penalties for violent crime, a reform of public service broadcasting, the promotion of Dutch culture, and the direct election of the prime minister. With the landslide victory in the regional election, the “Forum for Democracy” was able to establish itself and provides a shift to the right in the political landscape. Meanwhile, the forum, according to “Rheinische Post” even more members than the governing party VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
In turn, the 570 provincial members elected in the current regional elections will vote for the 75 First Chamber Senators in May, with the FvD having 12 seats, according to projections. This First Chamber is comparable to the German Bundesrat. The right-wing populist Geert Wilders suffered heavy losses with his Islamophobic party PVV. His party received only five seats. Thierry Baudet said on the eve of the applause of his supporters that the “arrogance and stupidity” of the governing parties had been punished. He accused the Rutte government of having left the borders of the Netherlands “wide open”.
Swell: “Forum voor Democratie”, NPO, NOS, rp-online.de, news agencies DPA and AFP