Far-right FvD breaks with youth division over anti-Semitism, homophobia
Far-right nationalist party FvD explicitly distanced itself from its youth division JFvD over homophobic and anti-Semitic messages sent in a WhatsApp group, the party leadership decided in a meeting in Tiel on Monday. The meeting was held after founder Thierry Baudet withdrew as party leader over these same messages.
The party leadership decided to make a clear cut with the youth division for the time being. "We are really putting the JFvD at a distance," FvD vice president Lennart van der Linden said to NOS after the meeting.
"It was a tough day,' Van der Linden said. "Our founder and leader indicated that he is no longer party leader." He called Baudet's decision a disappointment, but added that it's good the politician is taking responsibility. "That is brave and very commendable."
Joost Eerdmans, number four on the party's candidate list for the upcoming parliamentary elections, told NU.nl that he has mixed feelings about Baudet's decision to step back. But he does think it is "the right way to move forward". He would not say whether he would be running for party leader.
Baudet will remain FvD chairman and will also keep his seat in parliament. He also said he was willing to be lower on the FvD election list for next year's parliamentary elections.
There was some uncertainty about Freek Jansen, number 7 of the FvD's election list and chairman of the youth division, and also a confidant of Baudet. Initially it was reported that Jansen also withdrew from the election list, but a spokesperson later called this a misunderstanding.
Van der Linden told NOS that Jansen offered to give up his spot on the list. The list is still far from final, but it is unlikely that Jansen will be on it, Van der Linden said. Eerdmans told NU.nl that Jansen will definitely not be on the candidate list.
According to political commentator Frits Wester, Baudet's decision to step back as party leader could result in the FvD imploding. "It is very damaging for Forum," Wester said to RTL Nieuws. "But that is also the danger of a new political movement that became very big at breakneck speed. There is then too little cement to properly build up the batch on the inside. Such a party then explodes."
The fact that Baudet is keeping his current seat in parliament and said he'd be lower on the list of candidates for next year's parliamentary elections shows that he wants to stay involved, Wester said. "That means that he can be elected again in parliament with preferential votes. And then he can say: see now, I am the leader, people want me. And then he can reclaim the leadership of his party. But what his plan is, he left up in the air."