Forum for Democracy

The Forum for Democracy (Dutch: Forum voor Democratie, FvD) is a conservative and right-wing populist[27] Eurosceptic political party in the Netherlands that was initially founded as a think tank by Thierry Baudet and Henk Otten in 2016. The party first participated in elections in the 2017 general election, winning two seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2019 provincial elections, it won the most seats out of any party.

Forum for Democracy
Forum voor Democratie
AbbreviationFvD
ChairpersonThierry Baudet[1]
Leader in the House
of Representatives
Thierry Baudet
Leader in the SenatePaul Frentrop
FoundersThierry Baudet
Henk Otten
Founded1 September 2016[2][3]
HeadquartersHerengracht 74,
Amsterdam
Youth wingJongerenorganisatie Forum voor Democratie (JFvD)
Think tankRenaissance Institute
Membership (2020)Increase 42,794[4] (Disputed)[5][6]
Ideology
Political positionRight-wing[18] to far-right[24]
European affiliationEuropean Conservatives and Reformists Party[25]
European Parliament groupEuropean Conservatives and Reformists[26]
Colors  Maroon
House of Representatives
5 / 150
Senate
3 / 75
States-Provincial
25 / 570
European Parliament
0 / 29
King's Commissioners
0 / 12
Website
www.fvd.nl

HistoryEdit

The FvD was established as a think tank whose main feat was campaigning in the 2016 Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum against the EU in general.[28]

In September 2016, it converted itself into a political party and announced its intention to take part in the 2017 general election, where the FvD ended up with 1.8% of the vote and 2 seats, entering parliament for the first time. In February 2019, the FvD had nearly 31,000 members.[29] As populists, the bulk of the Forum's nominated parliamentary candidates did not have prior active experience in other political parties.[30][31]

In February 2018, the party suffered from internal issues with a number of prominent members leaving the party because they felt the party had a lack of internal democracy.[32]

In the 2018 municipal elections, the FvD won three seats on the Amsterdam city council.[citation needed]

During the 2019 provincial elections, Forum for Democracy won 86 seats, spread across the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. In South Holland, North Holland, and Flevoland, FvD became the largest party, winning 11, 9 and 8 seats respectively. In all other provinces, the party came either second or third in terms of numbers of votes. The FvD did not stand in Rotterdam but instead endorsed the Livable Rotterdam party.[33]

On 30 April 2020, Forum for Democracy formed a coalition with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in the North Brabant province, the first time the party had formally entered into the administration of a regional authority.[34] In 2020, former VVD MP Wybren van Haga defected to the party.

In April 2020, the party became split following a series of controversies related to members of the FvD's youth wing making comments that were deemed racist and homophobic. Baudet was also accused of endorsing antisemitic conspiracies, something he denied. This led to calls for Baudet to be removed as FvD leader and he temporarily stepped down. In December 2020, it was announced that Baudet had returned as party leader and would lead the FvD into the 2021 Dutch general election.[35]

At the 2021 general election, the party campaigned against COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed by the Dutch government and managed to win eight MPs. In May 2021, three of the FvD MPs (Van Haga, Hans Smolders and Olaf Ephraim) left the party to sit as independents in response to the FvD releasing a poster comparing the lockdown to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.[36][37][38]

Ideology and political positionsEdit

The FvD has been described as ideologically national conservative,[39][7] conservative liberal,[12] Eurosceptic, and right-wing populist.[8] On its official platform, the FvD declares itself to be a movement rather than a party with a focus on protecting Dutch sovereignty, identity, and cultural and intellectual property. The party also wants stricter immigration policies and is opposed to the integration of the European Union.[40] In the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, historian and philosopher Joseef Eanders has described the FvD as containing various factions, including members sympathetic to the ideas of Ayn Rand and Michel Houellebecq.[41]

The party initially focused on drawing support from former People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) voters who felt the VVD had grown too soft on the policy areas of European Union and immigration, but saw the Party for Freedom as too hardline, and tried recruiting candidates who came from professional rather than political backgrounds.[42] The FvD has been accused of cultivating popularity among the alt-right movement, although the party does not identify itself as such.[43]

EconomyEdit

FvD is a conervative-liberal party and supports economic liberalism.[12] The party is a proponent of the introduction of a high tax-free bracket for everyone, the abolition of taxes on gifts and inheritance and a radical simplification of tax brackets.[44][45][46][47] The party is a proponent of drastic changes in elementary and secondary education, focusing on performance evaluations for teachers.[48] It wants to expand the armed forces, expanding the National Reserve Corps and reverting defense budget cuts.[49]

Electoral reformEdit

One of the major issues the party campaigns against is the perceived existence of a "party cartel" in which the main ruling parties of the country divide power among themselves and work towards the same goals despite claiming to be competitors.[28] The party promises direct democracy through binding referenda[30] as well as directly elected mayors and a directly elected Prime Minister.[50][51] The party is also in favor of the government consisting of apolitical experts in their respective fields ("technocracy"), and top civil servants having to reapply for their positions whenever a new cabinet is formed.[52]

Immigration and European UnionEdit

The party states that it supports protecting European civilization and wants free trade between European nations and the world but is opposed to the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone. The party calls for an immediate end to EU enlargement and for the Netherlands to use every veto possible to prevent the EU from becoming a Federal Superstate. It also supports referendums and Dutch withdrawal from the Eurozone and the Schengen agreement. FvD also wants a renegotiation of Dutch membership of the EU followed by a binding referendum on EU membership and an "intelligent exit" (Nexit) from the EU if it cannot be reformed and terms cannot be met.[53]

The FvD also adopts a nationalist viewpoint in which the Dutch culture should be protected.[54] The party is in favor of reinstating border controls and ending what it perceives as mass immigration.[55][56] It also campaigns against unchecked immigration, says it would introduce a Dutch Values Protection Act. The party supports freedom of religion and calls for equal treatment of all citizens regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, but is also against any further influence of Islamic culture on Dutch society, supports a crackdown on forced or child marriages and wants to ban Islamic face veils and other face coverings. The FvD also opposes foreign funding of Islamic schools and institutions, and argues that all schools in the Netherlands should subscribe to "Judeo-Christian values."[57][58] FvD also states that immigrants who do not wish to integrate should be offered incentives to return to their native country and that whenever possible asylum seekers should be processed off Dutch soil.[59]

Criminal justiceEdit

The party calls for a reform of the Dutch justice system, increased funding for the Dutch police force, tougher penalties against those convicted of violent crimes and where possible for non-naturalized immigrants found guilty of serious crimes to be deported and tried in their country of origin.[60]

Environmental and social policiesEdit

FvD calls for a gradual legalization of soft drugs but also supports reducing the number of cannabis coffee shops within the vicinity of schools.[61] The party also calls for a reduction in the use of plastic, more support for the agricultural economy, sustainable farming and tougher laws against animal cruelty.[62] In the spring of 2019, the party, endorsing a climate sceptic platform, intensively campaigned against large state investments in renewable energy, leading to a victory in the provincial elections.[63][64] Later that year, it also supported protests by Dutch farmers against enforcing legislation on nitrogen emissions.

Society and cultureEdit

FvD supports high culture. It argues for the protection of Dutch culture and "European classical music, art and knowledge." It is critical of modern architecture, calling for both new government buildings to be constructed in a neoclassical style and for city planning that "fits within a historical view." FvD also supports the establishment of a commission to protect historic monuments from destruction, wants Frysk to be retained as a second state language, calls for schools to teach about "beautiful things that the West has produced" and supports free museum admission for all Dutch citizens.[65] However, the party has also promoted plans to defund and privatize the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep, a Dutch public broadcasting organization.[66]

ControversiesEdit

Since it became active in politics, FvD has sparked controversy,[67][68] especially regarding allegations of racism against important FvD politicians,[69] the FvD "left-wing indoctrination in education" hotline[70] and whether or not the FvD is a far-right party.[17] Many of these controversies surround party leader Baudet.[71] In April 2020, HP/De Tijd revealed instances of antisemitism, homophobia and glorification of Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant in groups associated with FvD's youth wing.[72] FvD later investigated these instances and discharged three members from the political party. Three additional members were also suspended.[73] After more similar messages were revealed in November, Baudet resigned as lijsttrekker.[74] The day after Baudet resigned as leader, vice-leader Theo Hiddema vacated his seat in the Tweede Kamer for "personal reasons," although some media outlets opined that it was due to controversies within the party. [75] The following day, Senator Paul Cliteur also resigned from the party. On 26 November 2020, FvD Senator Nicki Pouw-Verweij released a letter regarding multiple incidents during a dinner on 20 November including Baudet making antisemitic statements claiming that the COVID-19 lockdowns were concocted by George Soros and lashing out at colleague Joost Eerdmans.[76]

In December 2020, Baudet reversed his actions and announced the party would hold a leadership contest. The FvD's board announced an internal referendum on whether to expel Baudet from the party and replace him with a new leader. This took place on 3 December 2020, with 76% of FvD members voting in favour of Baudet remaining in the party.[77] In protest at the outcome, the FvD's three MEPs and seven Senators resigned to sit as independents before joining the JA21 party founded by former FvD members.

Split-off partiesEdit

In August 2019, former FvD senator and founding member Henk Otten announced he had registered Group Otten (GO) as a new political party.[78] GO currently has two seats in the Senate and one seat in the European Parliament which were taken up by former FvD members.[79][80]

In 18 December 2020, former FvD parliamentary candidates Joost Eerdmans and Annabel Nanninga created JA21 to contest in the 2021 Dutch general election following what they felt was the FvD's poor handling of members who had made extremist statements. They were joined by the FvD's three MEPs.[81]

Following the 2021 Dutch election, FvD MP Wybren van Haga founded Belang van Nederland and was joined by two former FvD MPs.[82][83]

Electoral resultsEdit

House of RepresentativesEdit

Election Lijsttrekker Votes % Seats +/– Government
2017 Thierry Baudet 187,162 1.8 (#13)
2 / 150
New Opposition
2021 521,102 5.0 (#8)
8 / 150
  6 TBD
Current defected to Van Haga Group
3 / 150
5 / 150
  3 TBD

SenateEdit

Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
2019 27,473 15.87 (#1)
12 / 75
New Opposition
Current
2 / 75
defected to Nanninga Group
8 / 75
defected to Otten Group
2 / 75
  10

MunicipalEdit

Election Municipality Votes % Rank Seats +/-
2018 Amsterdam 20,015 5.77 8th
3 / 45
New
Current
1 / 45
  2

ProvincialEdit

Election Overall 12 provinces Involved in
Executives
Votes Percentage Rank Seats +/-
2019[84] 1,057,029 14.53 1st
86 / 570
New
1 / 12
Current
25 / 570
  61
0 / 12
Province Elected seats Current seats
Drenthe
6 / 41
2 / 41
Flevoland
8 / 41
1 / 41
Friesland
6 / 43
4 / 43
Gelderland
8 / 55
4 / 55
Groningen
5 / 43
2 / 43
Limburg
7 / 47
3 / 47
North Brabant
9 / 55
1 / 55
North Holland
9 / 55
3 / 55
Overijssel
6 / 47
1 / 47
South Holland
11 / 55
2 / 55
Utrecht
6 / 49
0 / 49
Zeeland
5 / 39
2 / 39

European ParliamentEdit

Election List Votes % Seats +/– Notes
2019 List 602,507 10.96 (#4)
3 / 26
New
3 / 29
  [85][86][87]
After split
0 / 29
defected to JA21
3 / 29
  3

Party membershipEdit

Year Membership[4][88]
2017 1,863
2018 22,884
2019 30,674
2020 42,794

OrganizationEdit

LeadershipEdit

 
Thierry Baudet, founder and leader of the party

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Partij Forum voor Democratie". FvD (in Dutch).
  2. ^ Annual financial report 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2021 (in Dutch).
  3. ^ Aalberts, C (2020) De partij dat ben ik. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Jurgen Maas.
  4. ^ a b "Forum voor Democratie qua ledental de grootste partij van Nederland" (PDF). Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ Winterman, Peter (18 February 2021). "Twijfel over hoog ledental Forum voor Democratie: 'Partij is niet transparant'". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Iets meer leden voor politieke partijen in 2020, FVD claimt meeste leden". NRC.
  7. ^ a b Staab, Steffen (2018). Social Informatics. Springer. p. 102.
  8. ^ a b "De nieuwe politieke kaart van Nederland: versnippering in beeld". nos.nl (in Dutch). 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  9. ^ Korteweg, Ariejan (22 March 2019). "Weghonen van populistisch rechts is geen optie meer". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  10. ^ "The Dutch defeat 'the wrong kind of populism'". Heinrich Böll Foundation. 22 March 2017.
  11. ^ a b de Boissieu, Laurent. "Forum voor Democratie (FvD)". Europe Politique (in French). Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Lucardie, Paul (30 April 2018). "Tussen de Tocqueville en Spengler: het Forum voor Democratie op de tweesprong". De Hofvijver (in Dutch). No. 85. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ "The Dutch Election Is About More Than Nationalism". Bloomberg. 22 February 2017. The Forum for Democracy (FvD) has a curious history. Baudet, a well-regarded legal scholar and political philosopher, set it up in 2015 as a conservative, euroskeptic think tank
  14. ^ "Wat is Forum voor Democratie?". NPO Focus. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Dutch election: How do you choose between 28 parties?". Sky News. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Splintering of Dutch politics makes election hard to predict". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b Misérus, Mark (27 May 2017). "Hoe rechts is Forum voor Democratie?". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  18. ^ [11][15][16][17]
  19. ^ Fallon, Katy (25 March 2019). "Forum voor Democratie: Why has the Dutch far right surged?". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  20. ^ Boztas, Senay (23 March 2019). "Surprise electoral win leaves far-Right populists scrambling to fill seats". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  21. ^ Schaart, Eline (20 March 2019). "Far-right populists score stunning win in Dutch provincial vote". Politico. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  22. ^ Tierolf, Bas; Drost, Lisanne; van Kapel, Maaike (December 2018). Zevende rapportage racisme, antisemitisme en extreemrechts geweld in Nederland (PDF) (Report) (in Dutch). Verwey-Jonker Instituut. p. 35. ISBN 978-90-5830-912-9. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Dutch far-right politician supports Trump's action against "left wing extremism"". NL Times.
  24. ^ [19][20][21][22][23]
  25. ^ "Our family". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  26. ^ van den Dool, Pim (5 June 2019). "Forum duwt ChristenUnie uit Europese politieke familie". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  27. ^ Zulianello, Mattia (2019). "Varieties of Populist Parties and Party Systems in Europe: From State-of-the-Art to the Application of a Novel Classification Scheme to 66 Parties in 33 Countries" (PDF). Government and Opposition: 5.
  28. ^ a b Joshua Chaffin (14 March 2017). "Populists seize the moment as Dutch fall out of love with EU". Financial Times.
  29. ^ Mebius, Dion (12 February 2019). "Politieke partijen beperken ledenverlies, Forum voor Democratie op drie na grootste". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  30. ^ a b Douglas Murray (28 January 2017). "Geert Wilders doesn't threaten Dutch liberalism: he's defending it".
  31. ^ "Forum voor Democratie". Forumvoordemocratie.nl. Archived from the original on 2017-03-15. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  32. ^ "Uittocht bij Forum voor Democratie houdt aan - Binnenland - PAROOL". Het Parool. 9 February 2018.
  33. ^ FvD en Leefbaar Rotterdam starten alliantie! Forum voor Democratie, 13 juni 2017.
  34. ^ CDA members in Brabant say ‘yes’ to alliance with far-right FvD, dutchnews.nl, April 30, 2020, accessed 7 December 2020
  35. ^ "FvD presents candidate list and election program, party wants The Netherlands to leave the EU "in an intelligent way"". NL Times.
  36. ^ "Van Haga neemt afstand van 5 mei-poster van Forum voor Democratie". NOS. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  37. ^ Peek, Simone (13 May 2021). "Van Haga en twee Kamerleden breken met Forum voor Democratie". NRC Handelsblad. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Scheuring in Forum: Kamerlid Van Haga splitst zich af met twee anderen". nos.nl. Retrieved 2021-05-13.
  39. ^ "Netherlands". Europe Elects. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  40. ^ "Standpunten | Stem Nederland terug". Forum voor Democratie.
  41. ^ Wanders, Joseef (9 May 2019). "Baudet wil het onmogelijke: Ayn Rand verenigen met Houellebecq". Het Financieele Dagblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  42. ^ De aantrekkingskracht van Baudet, EenVandaag, 5 September 2017. Geraadpleegd op 31 October 2017.
  43. ^ "Alt-right-beweging juicht op het web hard voor Baudet". NRC Handelsblad. 2017-03-16.
  44. ^ "Economie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  45. ^ "Belastingen". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  46. ^ "Internet". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  47. ^ "Privacy". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  48. ^ "Onderwijs". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  49. ^ "Defensie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  50. ^ "Directe Democratie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  51. ^ "Kartelbestrijding". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  52. ^ "Gekozen minister-president". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  53. ^ "Europese Unie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  54. ^ Leonid Bershidsky (22 February 2017). "The Dutch Election Is About More Than Nationalism". Bloomberg.com.
  55. ^ "Wet Bescherming Nederlandse Waarden". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  56. ^ "Immigratie & Remigratie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  57. ^ "New Dutch Eurosceptic party that wants Netherlands EU referendum now polling in second place". The Independent. 19 February 2018.
  58. ^ "Wet Bescherming Nederlandse Waarden". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  59. ^ "Aanpakken immigratie". Forum voor Democratie.
  60. ^ "Veiligheid & Justitie". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  61. ^ "Drugs". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  62. ^ "Dierenwelzijn & milieu". Forum voor Democratie. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  63. ^ de Witt Wijnen, Philip; Rutten, Rik (23 February 2019). "De ongemakkelijke 'feitentwist' van Thierry Baudet". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  64. ^ den Hartog, Tobias (6 March 2019). "Baudet moet de Wilders worden die wél levert". AD (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  65. ^ "Kunst, cultuur en erfgoed". Forum voor Democratie.
  66. ^ "Sanering Publieke Omroep". Forum voor Democratie. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  67. ^ "Baudet in buitenlandse media 'de Nederlandse Trump'". NOS (in Dutch). 21 March 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  68. ^ "D66 en VVD woest op FvD'er Ramautarsing: 'homofobie'". Elsevier Weekblad (in Dutch). 2 March 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  69. ^ "Lijsttrekkers duiken met z'n allen op Baudet tijdens landelijk debat". Elsevier Weekblad (in Dutch). 9 February 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  70. ^ "Tweede Kamer spreekt zich uit tegen FvD-meldpunt linkse leraren". Joop (in Dutch). 9 April 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  71. ^ van der Sterren, Luuk (14 March 2017). "De digitale strategie van Thierry Baudet: 'net als Trump'". Follow The Money (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  72. ^ van Dijk, Ton (2020-04-28). "FvD-jongeren 'fascistisch' en 'antisemitisch' in appgroepen". HP/De Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  73. ^ ANP (2020-05-01). "Forum voor Democratie royeert leden om extreemrechtse en antisemitische whatsappjes". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  74. ^ "Baudet geen lijsttrekker en leider meer van Forum voor Democratie". NOS (in Dutch).
  75. ^ "Hiddema (FvD) verlaat per direct de Tweede Kamer". nos.nl (in Dutch).
  76. ^ den Hartog, Tobias; Winterman, Peter (25 November 2020). "FvD-senator: 'Baudet gelooft in complottheorieën over corona'". AD.
  77. ^ den Hartog, Tobias (4 December 2020). "Baudet wint referendum, Europarlementariërs breken met partij". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  78. ^ "Forum voor Democratie zet senator Henk Otten uit de partij". NOS. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  79. ^ "Fractie-Otten". Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  80. ^ "Partij GO van Henk Otten krijgt zetel in Europarlement". Trouw (in Dutch). 6 February 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  81. ^ "Joost Eerdmans en Annabel Nanninga doen met nieuwe partij JA21 mee aan verkiezingen". Trouw (in Dutch). 18 December 2020. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  82. ^ "Van Haga begint eigen partij: BV NL". 2 July 2021.
  83. ^ "Van Haga lanceert eigen partij BV NL - NRC". Nrc.nl. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  84. ^ "Kiesraad - verkiezingsuitslagen". www.verkiezingsuitslagen.nl.
  85. ^ "Kiesraad: Election results by election commission". Kiesraad. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  86. ^ "Kiesraad: PDF with all information about the European Parliament elections in 2019". Kiesraad. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  87. ^ "Kiesraad: Data about European Elections 2019 in the Netherlands". Kiesraad. 4 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  88. ^ "Ledentallen Nederlandse politieke partijen per 1 januari 2016, 2017 en 2018" (PDF). Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 June 2018.

External linksEdit