Last week’s provincial elections saw Forum for Democracy (FvD) make significant gains in the Senate’s upper house. The far-right party won 13 seats, a stark contrast from the zero seats the party previously held. This result surprised some observers.
The Dutch participated in the election only two days after the shooting in Utrecht that left three people dead. In the aftermath of the attack, FvD was the only party to not suspend campaign activities. Party leader Thierry Baudet even went on to blame the government’s migration policy for the assault, honing in on the perpetrator’s Turkish heritage. “This is a combination of an honour killing and a half-terrorist motive,” he said at a rally. This rhetoric may have fuelled voters at the ballot box.
Diederick van der Wijk, director of refugee assistance group Refugees Forward, said to Al Jazeera that FvD provokes fear in people. This fear mongering has contributed to FvD’s rise, which will prove devastating for immigrant communities. “Forum voor Democratie’s rise is a big punch in the face for immigrants of first, second and third generation who work hard to make a contribution to Dutch society and climb up the ladders in their professional careers,” van Der Wijk said.