Esther Ouwehand wins pro-animal party power struggle

Photo: Dutch News

The in-fighting between the board and leader of pro-animal party Partij voor de Dieren came to a head on Wednesday, when the board resigned en masse and Esther Ouwehand retained her leadership.

The board had decided not to reappoint Ouwehand as campaign leader ahead of the November general election because of “integrity issues”, a decision which led to mass criticism and the resignation of one PvdD MP.

However, the board issued a new statement on social media on Wednesday, stating that because of the upheaval, they had decided to propose Ouwehand as campaign leader after all. However, the statement said, the board did not consider Ouwehand suitable as party leader and that the board members would all resign.

Ouwehand said in an initial reaction she was relieved by the news and that she was grateful for all the support she had received from members.

Nieuwsuur reported on Monday that the power struggle dated back to the summer, when Ouwehand complained that a female board member had been spreading “lies” about her and should be removed.

Ouwehand also expressed her frustration that she had “run up against a wall” in her efforts to reform the party as its membership and number of elected officials grew.

According to the Volkskrant, Ouwehand may also have tried to have certain names removed from the party’s list of prospective MPs.

The PvdD had been one of the few established parties in line to make gains in the November vote. It currently has six MPs and will publish its list of candidates on Thursday.

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