National party leaders have urged the VVD in Brabant to rule out a coalition with the far-right Forum voor Democratie after the province’s government collapsed.
The right-wing liberal VVD said on its website that the three largest parties in the provincial assembly – VVD, FvD and Christian Democrats (CDA) – should ‘attempt to build a stable and open majority coalition’.
FvD is the second largest party in Brabant, holding nine of the 55 assembly seats, but was mired in controversy last week when national party leader Thierry Baudet was roundly condemned for a tweet in which he wrongly claimed that two of his friends had been harassed by ‘four Moroccans’ on a train.
It later emerged that the four men were undercover ticket inspectors and a plainclothes police officer who asked the women to show their travel passes during a routine check. Only one was of North African origin. When questioned, Baudet declined to apologise for the factual errors in his tweet and said accusations of racism were ‘absurd’.
Rob Jetten, leader of coalition party D66, said it was ‘incomprehensible’ that the VVD was proposing a deal in Brabant with FvD. ‘CDA and VVD are throwing away their principles, in the very week when Baudet has dismissed hundreds of thousands of his compatriots, Dutch people with a Moroccan background,’ he said.
His words were echoed by Jesse Klaver, leader of the opposition group GroenLinks. ‘VVD and CDA want to help the far-right take the reins. The provinces need to solve the nitrogen crisis, but VVD and CDA are now teaming up with a party that denies the nitrogen crisis exists.’
Provincial assemblies have been a focal point of the tensions over the Council of State’s ruling last year that the government needs to overhaul its regulations that limit nitrogen emissions, which are likely to lead to much stricter controls on the agriculture industry.
The previous coalition in Brabant, a five-way partnership between VVD, CDA, D66, GroenLinks and the Labour party (PvdA), was disbanded six months ago when the CDA pulled out in a dispute over nitrogen regulations.
FvD claimed 14.5 per cent of the vote in last year’s elections to the provincial elections, making it the largest group overall at regional level, but is not involved in any of the 12 coalition governments. One delegate elected on an FvD ticket is in coalition in Limburg as an independent member.
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