The new Forum for Democracy party placed first in local elections in the Netherlands this week, becoming the second largest party in the Dutch Senate. The result deals a blow to Prime Minister Mark Rutte's four-party coalition government. In the fragmented Dutch political system, where more than a dozen parties won seats, that relatively small proportion of the electorate was enough to put the FvD on top, with 13 seats in the 75-member upper house of the legislature. The FvD took votes from three of the four parties that make up PM Rutte's ruling coalition, as well as from the anti-Islam Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom and the left-wing Socialist Party.
In his victory speech, 36-year-old leader Thierry Baudet emphasized that FvD is now one of the largest parties in the country and a profound change has been set in motion, where "economic and political capitulation is coming to an end." He attributed the FvD’s rapid success to support for ‘Nexit’ – the Netherlands leaving the European Union – and as punishment for the "arrogance and stupidity" of the Netherlands' current leaders. Mr. Baudet told the De Volkskrant paper, “I am ideologically against the EU, against the internal market, against the open borders, against the euro, against the whole thing.”
Voters have grown increasingly critical of how the government and law enforcement agencies handle immigrants and radicalism. Using classical references, Mr. Baudet also said, “We stand here in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization. We are going to start a renaissance in which our self-confidence is restored, in which we can live safely in a trusted environment, in which the democratic state is repaired, and economic and cultural dynamism can return."
In his address, Mr. Baudet slammed Holland's mainstream media, universities, and the "cartel of ruling elites" for indoctrination attempts and undermining the Dutch people. He cited "economic simpleton" PM Rutt, who raised taxes at the deepest point of the financial crisis, which resulted in the stagnation of purchasing power, “pensions cannot be indexed, and now a total 2.5 million people in our society are below the poverty line — unemployed, or quasi-unemployed. After that, the next Rutte cabinet opened the borders, breaking one immigration record after another".
Mr. Baudet emerged on the political scene two years ago with the founding of the FvD, which took two seats in the much more powerful 150-member lower house of parliament following the 2017 elections. In one of his books ‘Oikophobia: The Fear of Home’, Mr. Baudet laments cultural relativism and multiculturalism, which, he writes, lead to loathing of one's own culture. In another book, ‘Break the Party Cartel’, he describes the Dutch political class as a cartel. During the campaign, Mr. Baudet criticized elites, journalists, multiculturalism, and "political correctness" as he warned of the threat posed by immigration and the European Union to the nation-state and Dutch identity.
FvD is only two years old and only existed as a political party for two months before entering the general elections. Gaining 14 percent of the national vote, they can now help block immigration, climate, and other leftist bills supported by establishment parties and advance their anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and Euroskeptic voice in the Netherlands. The party also opposes funding for climate change legislation and seeks a referendum on the Netherlands' membership in the European Union.
Those elected will take their places in government at the provincial level and also select the composition of the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. That will take place in May, with new members taking office on June 11. The outgoing members will conduct their final scheduled official business on June 4.