Party for the Animals ripped apart by internal leadership battle

Ouwehand in happier times on the last budget day Photo: Vera de Kok via Wikimedia Commons

It might be rising in the polls but the Partij voor de Dieren is being torn apart by internal divisions.

On Saturday Ruud van der Velden, chairman of the board, sent out a press release saying that the party board had decided not to support party leader Esther Ouwehand as head of the party list. Although the party conference decides on who will lead it into the November general election, the board has accused the current leader of “integrity breaches” and said an external commission will be appointed.

It intends, according to its press release, to select a new “candidate to lead the party list” this week.

However, some of the six MPs for the party have reacted with confusion and outrage to the suggestions. A letter, leaked to NOS broadcaster and apparently from Ouwehand, has raised the issue of an alleged “unhealthy management culture” and “lack of awareness of the most basic democratic relations” in the party board.

MP Frank Wassenberg pointed out in a statement on social media that “in the Netherlands (and also in the Party for the Animals), someone is innocent until the opposite is proven” and said that he did not agree with the board’s decision.

Ouwehand has not reacted publicly.

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