Group Otten

Group Otten

Groep Otten
LeaderHenk Otten
Leader in the SenateHenk Otten
Leader in the EPDorien Rookmaker
FounderHenk Otten
Founded23 October 2019 (2019-10-23)[1]
Split fromForum for Democracy
Political positionCentre-right to right-wing
European Parliament groupNon-Inscrits
Colors Yellow
2 / 75
House of Representatives
0 / 150
Provincial councils
4 / 570
European Parliament
1 / 29

Group Otten (Dutch: Groep Otten, GO) is a political party in the Netherlands. It was formed following an internal conflict between Henk Otten, former treasurer and board member of Forum for Democracy (FvD), and its leader Thierry Baudet. The party currently has two seats in the Senate and one seat in the European Parliament.[3][4]


Internal conflicts within Forum for Democracy

After the establishment of Forum for Democracy in 2016, Otten and Baudet devoted themselves to the party's development. Shortly after its founding, the party managed to win two seats in the 2017 Dutch general election. Further efforts led to a decisive victory two years later in the 2019 Dutch provincial elections, but the party was not able to form a coalition in any province. The parties involved blamed Baudet. His statements about social issues had been viewed by many as far right, racist and misogynistic;[citation needed] some of his tweets were also controversial.[citation needed]

On 19 April 2019, Otten stepped forward in an interview with Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. In the interview, Otten criticised the party's course and Baudet's behaviour.[5] The party leader was "not amused" by this public criticism.

A few days later, two of the party's three board members, Baudet and Rob Rooken, accused Otten of taking money from the party treasury. The money in question was immediately deposited back to the party account by Otten.[6] Otten resigned as a party member at the request of the other board members. During this period, Otten opted for media silence to prevent further harm to the party. In the 2019 Dutch senate election, Otten was the party's lead candidate and intended group chairman. After the conflict, Otten renounced the group chairmanship. He was succeeded by Paul Cliteur, with whom he entered the Senate (together with ten brand new members of the Dutch parliament).

Owing to suspicions of financial malpractices, Otten was expelled from the party on 24 July 2019.[7] Otten immediately visited the media to speak out against the accusations, which he dismissed as defamation, slander. He claimed it was due to disagreements about the direction of the party. Otten also promised to make a declaration weigh defamation.[8] In Dutch news program Nieuwsuur, Otten hinted at his further political aspirations with the possibility of establishing his own party for the first time.

Founding of Group Otten

On 18 August 2019, Otten officially set up the new party. He was still looking for a suitable name for the party, but it would continue as Fractie-Otten for the time being. Two members of the Senate, former party spokesman Jeroen de Vries and Dorien Rookmaker, joined him because of the same dissatisfaction with the party's course. The three chose to keep their seats. There was even a possibility that Group Otten could get a seat in the European Parliament, as the seats in the parliament were redistributed after Brexit. The number of seats of FvD then increased from three to four seats. As Rookmaker was fourth on the Forum's candidates list for the 2019 European Parliament election, she still claimed the "Brexit seat" despite her canceled membership. Rookmaker joined the European Parliament on 1 February 2020.[9]

The situation in the provincial states was equally uneasy. Some members of the provincial states canceled their membership after expressing their dissatisfaction with the direction of FvD. Some even chose to join Otten's party, including North Holland member of the states Robert Baljeu.[10] In an interview with the NOS, Otten said that he was expecting more FvD members to join his party.[11]


Members of the Senate

  • H. (Henk) Otten, parliamentary leader
  • J.W.E. (Jeroen) de Vries

Members of the European Parliament

Members of the States Provincial

Province Seats
Flevoland Flevoland
1 / 41
North Holland North Holland
1 / 55
South Holland South Holland
2 / 55

See also


  1. ^ "Statuten GO" (PDF). GO Realisme & Daadkracht (in Dutch). Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  2. ^ "Standpunten". GO Realisme & Daadkracht (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Fractie-Otten". Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Partij GO van Henk Otten krijgt zetel in Europarlement". Trouw (in Dutch). 6 February 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  5. ^ Koning, Petra de; Witt Wijnen, Philip de (19 April 2019). "Tweede man van Forum Henk Otten: 'Baudet trekt de partij te veel naar rechts'". NRC. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  6. ^ "FvD: Otten deed 'greep in de kas' en moet uit partijbestuur". NOS. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Forum voor Democratie zet senator Henk Otten uit de partij". NOS. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  8. ^ Henk Otten [@hendrikotten3] (25 July 2019). "1. DRAADJE. Hierbij een draadje met een eerste korte inhoudelijke reactie op de beschuldigingen van FVD-bestuurders Baudet en Rooken van 24 juni jl. aan mijn adres" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "Drs. D. (Dorien) Rookmaker". Parlement.com (in Dutch). Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Verstoten FvD-kopstuk Robert Baljeu: 'Succes is Baudet naar z'n bol gestegen'". NPO Radio 1. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Otten verwacht dat meer FvD'ers zich bij hem aansluiten". NOS. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.

External links

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