An upstart right-wing populist party has surged to the forefront in Dutch provincial elections, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s four-party coalition. The Forum for Democracy supports “Nexit” – the Netherlands leaving the EU, is virulently against Muslim immigration and the creeping Islamization of their country.
The result shows the enduring strength of far-right populism in the Netherlands, coming nearly two decades after the assassination of populist Pim Fortuyn in 2002 led to a similar upset in parliamentary elections.
Telegraph Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy (FvD) emerged as the top winner in local elections on Wednesday, taking 14 percent of the national vote. The elections determine the makeup of the Senate.
The “Dutch Donald Trump” as they are calling Thierry Baudet, 35, who has copied Donald Trump with “Dutch First” policies, blasted the “cartel” of establishment parties in the Netherlands and railed against the euro.
Anti-EU populists have triumphed in regional elections in the Netherlands, robbing the governing party of its senate majority in a vote held two days after a suspected terror attack in Utrecht.
The Netherlands’ newest party has surged from no seats in the senate to 12 in its first regional elections, which determine the senate’s composition, and where it pocketed the largest number of votes.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’ conservative VVD party lost one seat in the senate, which reviews legislation passed in the more powerful parliament, and now also has 12 seats. The Forum has two parliament seats.
“The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power,” Mr Baudet said last night, “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us. “
“We are standing in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization in the world,” he added.
In February, Mr Baudet, whose success has eclipsed Dutch firebrand Geert Wilders, 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. “That is in our election program and has been our line for years, ” he said.
Analysts have pointed to the murder of three people in a shooting on a tram in Utrecht as a major reason for the Forum’s success. It was announced on Thursday that the attack would be treated as a terror attack by prosecutors.
Mr Baudet blamed the government’s immigration policy the attack, while other parties suspended campaigning.
Pollsters had for weeks predicted Mr Rutte’s centre-right coalition would lose its Senate majority. But experts, including pollster Maurice de Hond, said the Utrecht attack appeared to boost turnout most among opponents of immigration.
— TIME (@TIME) March 19, 2019