Home affairs minister won’t face legal action for Forum voor Democratie comments

Kajsa Ollongren Photo: Government.nl

The public prosecution department said on Thursday it will not press libel and slander charges against home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren for comments she made last month about Thierry Baudet and his Forum voor Democratie party.

In a public speech in Nijmegen at the beginning of February, Ollongren attacked Baudet for not condemning party colleague Yernaz Ramautarsing, after the latter claimed in a TV interview that people from non-white races had lower IQs.

‘The latest spin-off of populism goes beyond the point where Wilders stops,’ said Ollongren. ‘Baudet’s party seems to be obsessed with one of the few taboos that I adhere to as a progressive liberal: talking about race in political debate.’

She went on: ‘Baudet claimed this was a scientific debate. He didn’t want to get involved in it. In other words, he allowed blatant discrimination on grounds of race by one of his party colleagues to go unchallenged.’

The next day Baudet announced his decision to seek legal redress against Ollongren for ‘defamation’ and accused her of demonising him and his party.

Commenting on the decision not to proceed with legal action, the public prosecutor said that slander charges required the statement to contain untruths. In addition, the context in which the comments were made is crucial.

In this case, the fact that the comments were made during public debate meant they were not of a libelous nature, the department statement said.