The ongoing chaos within far-right, nationalist party Forum voor Democratie (FvD) is growing. The tumult which led founder and former party leader Thierry Baudet to say he would run in party elections to retake the leadership role, and the party board to subsequently announce they are considering his expulsion for calling for the vote without authorization, was followed up with more instability on Thursday after Baudet said the party should be split into two.
Baudet appeared on the morning show broadcast, Goedemorgen Nederland, to claim ownership of the party. “I started this,” he said, stating that nobody else should be able to run a party of the same name. “Everyone will emerge worse off,” he said, if the party members continue to slam each other.
He thus advocated for the party to be divided, as if in a divorce. “It is equally painful and it starts with a fight. But in the end nobody wins and we have to move on to the next step,” he told the television show.
FvD politician Nicki Pouw-Verweij wrote in a letter to the board that she was utterly stunned after having dinner late last week with the candidates appearing on the party’s list for elections next year. She said Baudet spewed off conspiracy theories, even saying, “coronavirus has been brought into the world by the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros to take away our freedom and start a new world domination.”
Global conspiracy theories, pushed by advocates of groups like QAnon, which place blame on George Soros often have roots in anti-Semitism, noted the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group organization. “Social media platforms are breeding grounds for hate and anti-Semitism at a frightening scale, and as very public and sometimes polarizing figures, Jewish members of Congress often experience the worst of this on Twitter,” said ADL leader Jonathan Greenblatt in October.
On Monday, Baudet announced that he will no longer be FvD leader, due to unrest caused by anti-Semitic and homophobic messages sent by members of the party’s youth division JFvD. On Tuesday the FvD board announced that Baudet will also be stepping down as party chairman, but is keeping his seat in parliament. On Wednesday, Baudet announced that he will be a candidate for party leader.
But a majority of the party board feel that an unacceptable situation arose over the past days. “The party cannot function as it should due to the entire course of events,” three of the five board members said on Wednesday. “Moreover, the party is seriously discredited. This is completely unacceptable.”
Baudet responded in a video on Twitter. “An intended expulsion? Have these people gone completely crazy? I founded Forum voor Democratie,” he said. “I could never have imagined what is happening here.”
He said he wanted to run as a challenge to the critics who want him to leave FvD completely. He called on his critics to also run for FvD leader, so that the party members can decide what they want.
The FvD board said later on Wednesday that it is not up to Baudet, but up to the full board to hold a party leadership election.
According to NU.nl, a spokesperson for the board initially announced that Baudet was removed from the board with immediate effect. A short time later, the board reported that he had only been asked to leave. Later on Wednesday, they announced that expulsion is being considered.