Esther Ouwehand will not be nominated again as party leader of the Party for the Animals. The party board says that “signals and information” have been received “that indicate violations of integrity” by the current faction leader.
The party is conducting an independent external investigation into the reports “with very clear information” that were received last month. The board does not say anything about the nature of the possible violations. The board announced in July that it would nominate Ouwehand as candidate party leader.
In an explanation, party chairman Ruud van der Velden speaks of “a very bitter pill”. He calls the decision not to nominate Ouwehand “well-considered” and says that it would not have been ethical if the board had nominated her with the knowledge it now has.
It is unknown whether Ouwehand will continue as Member of Parliament and party leader.
Criticism of the board
The decision of the party board has come under heavy criticism. The youth organization of the Party for the Animals, Pink!, has stated that it does not recognize the accusation against Ouwehand. “This is at the expense of our party leader and party,” writes Pink! on X (formerly Twitter). “We want the board to resign as quickly as possible.”
The Groningen faction chairman Wesley Pechler stated on X that he is squarely behind Ouwehand. “The board distorts the facts, does not involve the members, and digs its own grave.”
Ouwehand himself has not yet responded.
Esther Ouwehand (47) has been in the House of Representatives since 2006. In 2019 she succeeded Marianne Thieme as party leader. In October last year, Ouwehand temporarily resigned from her duties because she was overloaded. She returned to Parliament in February.
During Ouwehand’s absence, Christine Teunissen was temporary group leader. Teunissen was number 2 on the list in the previous elections in 2021.
The Party for the Animals candidate committee will select a new candidate party leader next week, the board said. The party conference, at which, among other things, the list of candidates will be presented to the members, will be on September 24.
- Esther Ouwehand wants to become Party for the Animals party leader again
- Elections approaching: who is leaving The Hague and who is staying?