It seems Baudet has won the power struggle within the FvD; or rather, his opponents have given up and left the party. Still, the party is down 5 seats (from 8 to 3) in the single poll that was run wholly after the debacle.
On Thursday and Friday I kept detailed notes of the moves in the power struggle, but once the major Baudet opponents, Nanninga, Eerdmans and friends, left the party it became clear that Baudet had won.
On Thursday Baudet called for leadership elections; it’s unclear if these are going to proceed now that he has won. Just now it was announced that there would be a member vote as soon as possible.
Now Baudet can try to pick up the pieces. On the one hand FvD with Baudet will do a lot better than FvD without Baudet; say what you want, he has charisma. On the other hand the party is severely damaged. The accusations of anti-semitism and radicalisation are now generally assumed to be true, and while they will help Baudet with a few voters, more will be put off by them.
Still, the question about Baudet’s opponents has become why they waited so long before doing something about Baudet’s radicalisation. His anti-semite remarks, while more extreme than before, were not fundamentally new, but until last week his intra-party opponents mostly ignored them. The reason is clear: it’s not Baudet’s anti-semitism that’s bothering them, but his pro-Corona stance that is costing the party seats. In other words, the opposition is not better than Baudet.
The (former?) intellectual face of the party, Leiden professor Cliteur, who left the party last week before Baudet’s victory but still supports him, is under attack from within Leiden university for his silence about Baudet’s radicalisation. Let’s see if there will be any stronger consequences than a bit of intellectual discomfort.
Still, the FvD spell over the media has been broken; at least partially. A few journalists are finally asking the right questions. And since media fascination was one of Baudet’s strongest trump cards this may grow into a serious problem.
In how much trouble is the party right now? Peil.nl ran a special extra poll on Friday, before Baudet won the struggle, to measure the effect of the infighting. Result: FvD lost 5 out of 8 seats, 4 of which went to Wilders. That paints a clear picture, and it shows there is not much difference between PVV and FvD. Then again, Peil.nl frequently assigns too much weight to the populist parties. Let’s hope one of the other pollsters runs a poll as well in the near future.
One thing should be stressed: unlike Baudet Wilders is not an anti-semite. The opposite, rather; he has always been a stalwart defender of the state of Israel. Although a few other PVV members occasionally flirted with anti-semitism, the fact that Wilders decides what happens means that the PVV as a party will steer clear of this particular form of racism. (Also, I always assumed anti-semtism is incompatible with anti-islam, and Wilders is anti-islam first and foremost.)
If this news dump seems a bit chaotic, that’s exactly how the situation feels as well.
Below is the chronicle I kept last Thursday and Friday, after I published my previous piece.
<— FvD news; 26/11 | Small fry; 4/12 —>
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.
If you like this blog, why not donate a little bit of money to help me pay my bills?
(Add your own)