Thierry Baudet’s resurrection: 8 seats in second exit poll

The champagne can be opened at the offices of Forum for Democracy now the number of seats of two – with which Baudet entered the Lower House in 2017 – according to the second exit poll has quadrupled to eight seats. It is more than Baudet could have hoped for last winter. His party was still stuck in the Polling Guide, the weighted average of the most important polls two seats – if he was lucky.

Of course, the dreams were much bigger two years ago. Prime Minister Baudet was a serious option when his party won convincingly from the VVD in the Provincial Council elections in March 2019. Maurice de Hond surveyed the Forum at the time as the largest party in the Netherlands (28 seats).

Party in ruins

But Baudet’s dream was shattered eighteen months ago by the many internal quarrels and scandals in the party. Starting with the departure of the strategic man behind Baudet, Henk Otten. Otten mentioned Baudets as the reason flirted with white superiority. Shortly after the fratricide, the party landed in a free fall in the polls.

The end of Forum seemed to have finally started at the end of 2020 anti-Semitic apps of the youth ward leaked to the media. Baudet refused to convict the youth chairman, after which his party imploded. Several party leaders resigned. Baudet was in danger of being disbarred, later returned as party leader, but nevertheless came out of the battle seriously injured.

Even his loyal companion Theo Hiddema, the number two on the list, let him finish the election campaign alone. He said he could no longer stand Baudets ‘almost religious passion against the corona policy’. Recently he added to Jinek that he is too ‘walked away’ because of racist texts who went around the party. Many voters also turned their backs on Forum: by the end of 2020, the party was almost dead in the polls.

Turning point

And now there is the profit for Forum. It is not only a confirmation that Baudet is here to stay at the Binnenhof, but also that support for his right-wing ideology is growing in the Netherlands. Never before has the far right flank won so many seats. The PVV, Forum and the renegade brother JA21 together took 28 seats according to the first exit poll. Together they represent almost one fifth of the electorate.

Baudets crystal clear campaign message, which was all about corona policy, will have won over many voters. No more lockdowns, the Netherlands free again Baudet shouted against crowded squares in the country in recent weeks. Forum was the only party that was so vehemently against the corona rules. In a country tired of all the restrictions, that message was in great demand. His classic right-wing views on one strict immigration policy and more power back from Brussels to the Netherlands did the rest.

Roll on the Binnenhof

Baudet’s role in the Binnenhof will remain limited, because there is no chance that his party will join the government. Like the PVV, he has been excluded from government participation by the VVD and most other parties. Forum is therefore automatically left out.

But that doesn’t mean Baudet’s influence will be marginal for the next four years. On the contrary, the Forum leader has a knack for constantly demanding media attention. Where Wilders rarely shows up for interviews, Baudet likes to join talk shows. As an opposition party, nothing stands in the way of Forum to completely burn down the upcoming Rutte IV cabinet – a role he probably feels most comfortable with.
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