Tilburg alderman under fire for election tweet linking nationalist party to racism

Netherlands polling voting elections
A person casts their election ballot in front of the Dutch flagimage: vepar5 / DepositPhotos

D66 alderman in Tilburg Marcelle Hendrickx is under fire for a tweet she posted last week saying that a vote for the Noord-Brabant FvD leader Hans Smolders is a vote for racism, hatred and division. In a debate on the matter on Monday night, she said that she regrets that the tweet was misunderstood, but she stands by the content, AD reports.

The tweet was posted on the day of the Provincial States elections on Wednesday. It read: "I hope that people in Tilburg realize that a vote for Hans Smolders, the leader for Forum voor Democratie, is a vote against our inclusive city. It is a vote for racism, demolition of the rule of law, hatred and division. Baudet clearly demonstrated this in recent weeks."

On Monday Hendrickx explained to the Tilburg city council that she wanted to express her concerns about the positions of nationalist party FvD and party leader Thierry Baudet on election day. "I am sorry that the message was interpreted differently than intended", she said. According to Hendrickx, she never said that Smolders is a racist. "What I wanted to say is do you realize that this is not a vote for councilor Smolders but for Forum voor Democratie of Thierry Baudet, who does exclude groups. That difference did not come up enough before the elections, I wanted to share that. But I also see that some interpreted it differently. I didn't say voters for Smolders are racist and I also do not think that."

Almost all of Tilburg's city councilors found the tweet awkward at best, according to the newspaper. Four opposition parties even called the statements unacceptable. Smolders himself called the statement disgusting. Hendrickx's regret was not enough for him and he filed a motion of no confidence against her, though it received virtually no support.