Serving army corporal is leading Nijmegen campaign for far right FvD
The local election campaign leader for far right Forum voor Democratie in Nijmegen is a 26 year old corporal in Dutch army, and questions are being asked about his role, now that party leader Thierry Baudet has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Berend Koedam works for the 11th Air Mobile Brigade, and 150 soldiers from that unit left for Romania on Monday to take part in military exercises on the eastern border with Ukraine, the Gelderlander reported.
A spokesman for the defence ministry told the newspaper that everyone has the right to be politically active, whatever statements are made by their party leader. ‘We look at him as a private person,’ a spokesman said.
Lawyer Michael Ruperti, who specializes in military cases, told the paper that people cannot lose their jobs just because they have joined a legal political party. However, if Koedam himself makes pro-Russian comments, that would be a different matter, he said.
Asked by the Gelderlander if he supported comments made by Baudet, such as describing people who were not vaccinated against coronavirus as the new Jews, Koedam said: ‘I back him, 100%. And that is all I am saying about it.’
Koedam is not the only person with a sensitive job who is trying to win votes on behalf of the far right party. Two serving policeman are also representing the party in Helmond and in Twente.
As well as backing Putin, party leader Baudet was recently ordered by a court to remove tweets in which he compares the current coronavirus regulations to the Holocaust, and to stop using photographs from the Holocaust to make his point.
FvD MPs have also threatened other politicians and healthcare experts with ‘tribunals’ for committing crimes in relation to coronavirus.
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