NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 17:22
The relationship between the board of the Party for the Animals and party leader Esther Ouwehand has seriously deteriorated. This is evident from a letter that Ouwehand sent to the board yesterday and which is in the hands of NOS and Nieuwsuur.
In the letter, which Ouwehand also shared with the faction chairmen and department chairmen, among others, she explains that, as far as she is concerned, the board has “insufficient awareness of the most basic democratic relationships”.
This afternoon it was announced that the board wants to withdraw Ouwehand’s nomination as party leader. The party leadership said that “signals and information” have been received “that indicate violations of integrity” by the current party leader. The violations were not specified.
Ouwehand has not yet responded to that message, but in the letter she states that the board is holding back the development of the party. According to Ouwehand, the board wants the Party for the Animals to always choose the opposition, also in the municipal councils.
When Ouwehand went against this as party leader, she was criticized, she writes. “An unprecedentedly hard (and false) fight was started in my direction, simply because the board itself does not realize that as a democratic party it is impossible to intervene top-down in the autonomy of independently elected representatives of the people.”
According to Ouwehand, the conflict was an important cause of the burnout she suffered last year. In October she resigned from her duties for a few months. Things did not get better after her return, Ouwehand writes. “Shortly after my return, I was very shocked by the defamatory undermining of my person and perhaps even more so by the unwillingness or inability of the board to tackle this decisively.”
“Not only have blatant lies been spread about me by a board member; nothing has been done about my report,” said Ouwehand. The board member in question, who is not mentioned by name, is still there. “The board is therefore continuing with a member who has demonstrably been guilty of, among other things, spreading malicious lies about me.”
Ouwehand ends her letter with a call to quickly bring about “concrete change”. She wants, among other things, “a list of candidates with people who can be trusted with the heavy responsibility for parliamentary membership”.
Ouwehand also wants something to be done about her complaint about the board member and she asks for a board “that knows how to take an independent position in relation to the founders”. “Without these crucial steps I cannot continue as party leader and party leader.”
Ouwehand receives a lot of support from party members. Member of Parliament Christine Teunissen calls it “a nonsense” that the board wants to push Ouwehand aside “through a bizarre statement”. Teunissen replaced Ouwehand when he was overloaded. “I want Esther to remain party leader and party leader.”
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.”
It is unclear what will happen next with the party leadership. The fact that Ouwehand is no longer nominated by the board does not mean that she cannot be a candidate. The party conference, at which, among other things, the list of candidates will be presented to the members, is currently scheduled for September 24.