The Netherlands: the fall of Thierry Baudet
Thierry Baudet, the shooting star of the right-wing populist party Forum voor Democratie (FvD) in the Netherlands, has stood down as its lead candidate and was apparently also forced to give up his party chairmanship due to internal pressure. His resignation came after it emerged on the weekend that members of the FvD's youth wing had praised Nazi books and posted anti-Semitic messages online.
Still a breeding ground for right-wing populism
The party leadership took far too long to act, NRC Handelsblad criticises:
“Schadenfreude is inappropriate for political opponents. Thierry Baudet's ideology is unlikely to end with the collapse of the FvD. There will continue to be a vast breeding ground for right-wing populism, no matter what happens to the FvD. Baudet is an expression of this, but certainly not the cause. ... The internal party dispute was initially about racism, anti-Semitism and sexism. It was also about a party culture in which such statements were tolerated for too long. ... It is fitting that a large part of the party leadership drew the line. However, the move comes far too late and is thus not very plausible.”
He roused the Dutch from their coma
Amused by the political spectacle unfolding in the neighbouring country, journalist and author Hugo Camps makes the following observations in his column in De Morgen:
“Prime Minister Rutte has become father of the fatherland and thus also the father of an arranged democracy. For him, no price is too high for a compromise. ... Thierry Baudet burst into the comatose landscape of Dutch politics like a comet. With strong words against Europe and rampant migration. ... He developed into a party and a movement, and then it all went wrong. Baudet only heard his own words, he spurned dissenters and installed the idiot Theo Hiddema as his right-hand man. His democratic deficit as party leader spells the end for him this week.”