Homophobic remarks prompt nationalist party to drop Amsterdam candidate

Yernaz Ramautarsing stepped down as candidate for nationalist party FvD in the Amsterdam municipal elections after a WhatsApp chat in which he supported the statement that gay rights made society dumber became public. He distanced himself from the statements in the WhatsApp chat and announced that he is stepping down in a statement on the FvD's website on Saturday.

In the WhatsApp chat Ramautarsing defended an argument that gay rights made society more stupid, the Telegraaf reported. "That is based on the notion that gays have relatively higher IQs and at the moment that they do not procreate the whole society becomes dumber. No hate just facts", the FvD candidate said in a WhatsApp group called 'Polariserende politici', or "Polarizing politicians" in English. He also said that the white race should do more for self preservation, according to the newspaper. 

Given the media attention given to his statements, Ramautarsing decided to step down, he said in a statement on the FvD site on Saturday. "In response to this consternation, I decided to withdraw - in the interests of FvD - as a candidate for Forum voor Democratie for the municipal elections in Amsterdam. During the now public debates I played the devil's advocate and involved statements that I don't, certainly not entirely, support."

He added that he distances himself from these statements. "In particular I want to distance myself from the statement that 'gay rights made society dumber'. This is certainly not a position that I endorse - and completely not a position of FvD! - and I regret that the suggestion arose that this would be the case. Nevertheless I take responsibility for the situation that arose. I do not want to burden the FvD with the social commotion about my statements."

The parliamentary elections will be held on March 21st. The Electoral Council no longer accepts any changes to the candidates lists submitted by the various parties. This means that despite his withdrawal, Ramautarsing will still be on the ballot in the elections, Het Parool reports. On Twitter Ramautarsing emphasized that should he get enough votes to sit on the Amsterdam city council, he will not accept the seat.  In that case, Anton van Schijndel, the current number 3 on the FvD list, will move up a place. 

Ramautarsing, who was number two on the FvD's candidate list for Amsterdam, was previously also under fire for statements he made in 2016. In an interview with Brandpunt, he linked IQ to race, saying that people with dark skin have lower IQs than other races. "Through IQ testing we know the average IQ of populations. And guess what? There is a difference in IQ between peoples. That is scientifically proven", he said in the 2016 interview. "That doesn't please me, rather it pains me. I would also have liked it to be different, that black people were hyper-intelligent, that Surinamese had the highest average IQ in the world. But it's not like that."

FvD leader Thierry Baudet refused to distance himself from these statements, resulting in Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations denouncing him in a speech late in January. Baudet pressed charges of slander and defamation against the Minister, but the Public Prosecutor concluded that she committed no crimes. 

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