Four MPs from the Party for the Animals showed on X this morning that they were surprised by the conflict between party leader Esther Ouwehand and the board. The foursome had not yet responded to the argument that broke out on the street this weekend.
“What the hell happened the last few days?”, writes Frank Wassenberg. “It still makes me dizzy.” Eva van Esch speaks of a “confusing weekend”. “A lot has happened in the past 72 hours that I still have questions about,” writes Lammert van Raan. Leonie Vestering is “shocked”.
Signals and information
Last Saturday, the party board announced that Ouwehand will not be nominated again as party leader. Her nomination was announced in July, but after that, according to the party management, “signals and information” came in “pointing to violations of integrity”. Party chairman Ruud van der Velden did not want to say anything about the nature of the reports.
A few hours later, a critical letter that Ouwehand had sent to the board a day earlier was published via the NOS. In that letter, the faction chairman explains that the board has “insufficient awareness of the most basic democratic relationships”. Ouwehand also describes that she is being opposed by the board and that the conflict has been dragging on for some time.
Campaign leader quits
Like a large number of other party members, Member of Parliament Christine Teunissen immediately expressed support for Ouwehand, but the rest of the House of Representatives remained silent until this morning. It is striking that the other four faction members do not explicitly support Ouwehand and that they do not seem to know what their party leader is accused of.
“I’m not taking sides now,” Van Raan writes, for example. “There is a lot that is unclear now, including for me,” says Van Esch. Wassenberg says he “cannot accept” the board’s decision. The MPs emphasize that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that alleged integrity violations must be investigated.
PvdD campaign leader Daan de Neef (former VVD MP) clearly takes Ouwehand’s side. On X he announces that he will stop his work. “I cannot work for a board that treats Esther this way. (…) This has to stop.”
It is unclear what will happen next, for example with the party leadership. The fact that Ouwehand is not nominated by the board does not mean that she cannot be a candidate. Ouwehand herself announced on Saturday that she wants to remain party leader. The board said it will announce a new candidate this week.
The party conference at which the list of candidates will be presented to the members is currently scheduled for September 24. Several party members have announced that they want to dismiss the board at that conference.
- War in the Party for the Animals: party leader Ouwehand and the board are diametrically opposed to each other
- Party management Party for the Animals no longer wants Ouwehand as party leader