Forum for Democracy
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Forum for Democracy (Dutch: Forum voor Democratie, FvD) is a conservative, right-wing populist Eurosceptic political party in the Netherlands, initially founded as a think tank by Thierry Baudet, who has been the party's leader since its founding in late 2016. The party first participated in elections in the 2017 general election, winning two seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2019 provincial elections, FvD won the most number of seats.
The FvD was established as a think tank whose main feat was campaigning in the 2016 Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum against the EU in general.
In September 2016, it converted itself into a political party and announced its intention to take part in the 2017 general election, where the FvD ended up with 1.8% of the vote and 2 seats, entering parliament for the first time. In February 2019, the FvD had nearly 31,000 members. As populists, the bulk of the Forum's nominated parliamental candidates did not have prior active experience in other political parties.
In February 2018, the party suffered from internal issues with a number of prominent members leaving the party because they felt the party had a lack of internal democracy.
During the 2019 provincial elections, Forum for Democracy won 86 seats spread across the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. In South Holland, North Holland and Flevoland, FvD became the largest party, winning 11, 9 and 8 seats respectively. In all other provinces, the party captured either the second or third spot in terms of the popular vote.
On 30 April 2020 Forum for Democracy formed an coalition with Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) in Noord-Brabant province. it is the first time FVD party, will formally be part of a regional authority.
FvD is a conservative liberal party and as such supports economic liberalism. The party is a proponent of the introduction of high tax free bracket for everyone, the abolition of taxes on gifts and inheritance and a radical simplification of tax brackets. The party is a proponent of drastic changes in elementary and secondary education, focusing on performance evaluations for teachers. It wants to expand the armed forces, expanding the National Reserve Corps and reverting defense budget cuts. In addition, the party has promoted plans to defund and privatize the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep, a Dutch public broadcasting organization.
One of the major issues the party campaigns against is the perceived existence of a "party cartel" in which the main ruling parties of the country divide power among themselves and work towards the same goals despite claiming to be competitors. The party promises direct democracy through binding referenda as well as directly elected mayors and a directly elected Prime Minister. The party is also in favor of the government consisting of apolitical experts in their respective fields ("technocracy"), and top civil servants having to reapply for their positions whenever a new cabinet is formed.
Immigration and European Union
The party states that it supports protecting European civilization and wants free trade between European nations but is opposed to the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone. It calls for abolition of the Eurozone and for a referendum on Dutch membership of the EU. The FvD also adopts a nationalist viewpoint in which the Dutch culture should be protected. For instance, the party is in favor of reinstating border controls and ending what it perceives as mass immigration. It also campaigns against unchecked immigration, says it would introduce a Dutch Values Protection Act. The party supports freedom of religion and calls for equal treatment of all citizens regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, but is also against any further influence of Islamic culture on Dutch society, supports a crackdown on forced or child marriages and wants to ban Islamic face veils and other face coverings. The FvD also opposes foreign funding of religious schools and institutions.
Law and order
The party calls for a reform of the Dutch justice system, increased funding for the Dutch police force, tougher penalties against those convicted of violent crimes and where possible for non-naturalized immigrants found guilty of serious crimes to be deported and tried in their country of origin.
FvD calls for a gradual legalization of soft drugs but also supports reducing the number of cannabis coffee shops within the vicinity of schools. The party also calls for a reduction in the use of plastic, more support for the agricultural economy, sustainable farming and tougher laws against animal cruelty. In the spring of 2019, the party, endorsing a climate sceptic platform, intensively campaigned against large state investments in renewable energy, leading to a victory in the provincial elections. Later that year, it also supported protests by Dutch farmers against enforcing legislation on nitrogen emissions.
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Since it became active in politics, FvD has consistently sparked controversy, especially regarding allegations of racism against important FvD politicians, the FvD "left-wing indoctrination in education" hotline and whether or not the FvD is a far-right party. Many of these controversies surround party leader Baudet.
- Thierry Baudet (22 September 2016 – present)
- Thierry Baudet (22 September 2016 – 17 January 2017; 25 November 2017 – present)
- Paul Frentrop (interim; 17 January 2017 – 24 November 2017)
- Vice Chairman
- Theo Hiddema (17 January 2017 – present)
- Leaders in the House of Representatives
- Thierry Baudet (23 March 2017 – present)
- Lijsttrekker for the general election
- Thierry Baudet
- Vice Chairman
- Lennart van der Linden
- Astrid de Groot
- Olaf Ephraim
- Board members
- Rob Rooken
- "Forum voor Democratie qua ledental de grootste partij van Nederland" (PDF). Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- Leonid Bershidsky (22 February 2017). "The Dutch Election Is About More Than Nationalism".
- "The Dutch Election Is About More Than Nationalism". Bloomberg. 22 February 2017.
The Forum for Democracy (FvD) has a curious history. Baudet, a well-regarded legal scholar and political philosopher, set it up in 2015 as an ultra-conservative, euroskeptic think tank
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But just as emblematic of what is stirring in Holland is the growing excitement around Mr Baudet and his campaign for more direct democracy.
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- Official website (in Dutch)
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