Dutch nationalists burst dyke of Amsterdam swamp
The results of the Dutch municipal elections bode well for conservatives. The new nationalist party on the Dutch scene won two seats in far-left Amsterdam, bolstering youthful conservative forces under the leadership of Thierry Baudet.
Published: March 23, 2018, 12:55 pm
The Forum for Democracy won 4.9 percent of the vote in the 45-member assembly of the country’s largest city. The FvD was slated to win as many as four seats in a city that has long been the isolated bubble of wealthy leftists calling themselves the “Republic of Amsterdam”.
The biggest electoral headline from the Netherlands a year ago was Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s success in fending off a challenge from PVV leader Wilders, an accomplishment he could only pull off by a distinct swing to the right.
Last year too, the Forum for Democracy (FvD), a think tank turned political party, entered parliament with two out of 150 seats from nowhere. The charismatic leader Thierry Henri Philippe Baudet, born in 1983, and jurist, columnist and historian draws his voters from Rutte’s center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the youth.
The news on Friday was the success of Baudet, but the FvD leader believes his results could have been better.
According to Baudet, he has little confidence in the results of the municipal elections since the counting system that is used is “as leaky as a basket”. He told PowNed television that the way in which vote counting is being done is “completely irresponsible”.
Adjustments can be made to the results at all times, he says. “And the only way to check it is to be present in the polling station and write down the result, so that you can check for yourself.”
The Electoral Council claims that the difference between the admitted voters and the ballot papers counted, is noted and explained where possible. Although these details are entered in an official report, they are signed off verbally.
“No signature is put on, which makes it a document with no value.” Baudet says the documents are destroyed when they are digitized and can not be kept. “It is also not allowed to take a photo of it, nor can it be recounted.”
“The clue is: in all these 394 polling stations the result of the count is put on a USB stick, which goes via an unsecured courier to the town hall and there all those USB sticks are put on a computer, after which a calculation is made and it is printed out,” says Baudet. He does not expect fraud on a large scale, but says that the system is nevertheless “too easy to hack”.
On Monday, the Forum for Democracy had called on voters to become antifungals “election observers” at the Amsterdam polling stations. Baudet said that it was to ensure that every vote counted.
Baudet has achieved something that Wilders has not yet managed nor attempted — to secure a foothold in Amsterdam’s city council. Because Amsterdam is known to have a political culture and electorate that are predominantly “progressive”, the PVV has simply never bothered fielding candidates there.
Many Dutch establishment politicians and journalists have long hoped that Wilders would fade away, but he is being bolstered by Baudet’s good performance instead.
Liberated from European bureaucrats, Muslim immigrants, and feminists alike, it is the culture war of the American alt-right that Baudet has managed to introduce into Dutch politics. “In this sense, the rise of the FvD marks a decisive shift,” Dutch state news service NOS argues.
It was recently announced that Paul Cliteur, a well-known professor at Leiden University, will head the party’s scientific institute. Long before entering politics, Baudet published his insights on modern art and the European Union, as well as on the leftists’ oikophobia.
Baudet defines this term, taken from the conservative British philosopher Roger Scruton, as a “pathological aversion” to the national home. Oikophobia, he insists, is destroying the nation-state through its concerted support for feminism, cultural Marxism, modern art, immigration, and the European Union.
Significantly, Baudet is more popular among a sizable section of the younger generation. In many ways, he seems to channel the legacy of Pim Fortuyn, the iconic conservative politician murdered in 2002. Fortuyn carried the torch of the Dutch tradition of anti-clericalism.
At the municipal elections this time all eyes were focused on Rotterdam, because all national parties were on the ballot there. It turned out that the leftist D66 was the big loser of the local elections.
The desperate party now wants to see whether the municipal elections can be abolished. The disappointing course of the council elections can not be without consequences, the Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren announced.
“Of course we are still there for residents to be able to field their local representative in a democratic way, but the way it is now only leads to disappointment.
“We now conclude that voters voted yesterday mainly to express their dissatisfaction with representatives in cities such as Amsterdam and Utrecht. The elections were not meant for that. So back to the drawing board!”
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