The political status in Netherlands
The Dutch Animal Party has announced two newcomers beside Party Leader Esther Ouwehand on its candidate list for the upcoming election – Member of the First Chamber Christine Teunissen and Leonie Vestering, who is currently Part Leader of the Animal Party in Flevoland and Almere. The Animal Party has also published its new programme for the upcoming term, in which the party advocates for the establishment of a Ministry of Climate and Biodiversity as well as a ban on disposable plastics. The party also wants to pilot a trial with a basic income for every Dutch citizen, a significant reduction of aviation and a stop to the bio-industry.
Several screenshots of a group chat of the youth party of Forum for Democracy were shared with one of the main media outlets Het Parool in the beginning of December, which allegedly included homophobic and antisemitic messages. Party leader Thierry Baudet as a response committed to undertaking an internal investigation on these conversations. However, several party members did not agree with this approach and preferred having the whole youth party abolished immediately, among which prominent member Theo Hiddema, who was also until recently member of the House of representatives. After the events, Hiddema decided to step away as he did not want to be associated with the handling of the event.
Resulting from the commotion, Mr Baudet decided to withdraw from his position as party leader as well as his spot on the election list for the upcoming elections in March. In addition, member of the First Chamber for Forum for Democracy and so-called mentor of Mr Baudet, Paul Cliteur, also decided to step out as a consequence. After Baudet eventually expressed that he wants to remain party leader, a referendum on his future in the Party, namely whether party members want to maintain him as leader or not, was held. It has been concluded that 76% of members want Thierry Baudet to remain in place as the Party Leader, and hence Mr Baudet is again fulfilling this position.