Two senators leave far-right FVD over Zelenskyy boycott
Two of the three senators representing the far right political party, Forum voor Democratie, in the Eerste Kamer announced they are leaving the party. Party chair Paul Frentrop and Theo Hiddema, former confidant of party leader Thierry Baudet, will split off from FvD. They will thus keep their seats in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament, FvD said in a statement on Twitter.
The senators decided this because the FvD faction in the Tweede Kamer stated that it will not be present in the lower house when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers an address to MPs by video. The members of the Senate cancelled their party membership. Frentrop and Hiddema were party elders in the FvD.
In a joint statement, they said they "think that the Tweede Kamer faction should be present at the Ukrainian president's speech." The decision to broke away was met with "surprise and disappointment" by party leader Thierry Baudet and the other MPs.
Both senators have been critical of Baudet's leadership for some time. Last year, Frentrop distanced himself from Baudet's call for people not to get vaccinated against Covid-19. "I am not a doctor and I would advise against taking medical advice from any party leader," Frentrop said in November.
Hiddema was previously a member of Forum's parliamentary group, but resigned because he had become "politically depressed" by the fuss about anti-Semitic, sexist and racist messages from FvD ranks. He was also disturbed by comparisons that Baudet made between the coronavirus crisis and the deprivation of liberty during the Second World War.
Forum now has one seat left in the Senate. It is occupied by Johan Dessing. FvD entered the Senate in 2019 with twelve people, but almost everyone left after internal strife. The Nanninga Group (7 seats) and the Otten Group (2 seats) originated from Forum.
Reporting by ANP.