“Integrity violations”The Board of Directors of the Party for the Animals has set aside Esther Uehand as party leader over alleged integrity violations. But according to Oyhand, the events of the film revolve around a conflict with the same board of directors and a disagreement with one board member in particular. This internal battle is now being fought openly.
Sander van Mersbergen, Tobias den Hartog, Haneke Kjölltjes
There was significant unrest within the party over the decision to sideline Owehand. “Undeserved and highly anti-social,” says MP Christine Theunissen.
Party leader Ruud van der Velden said in a statement on Saturday that “several reports” had been submitted about “integrity violations.” The reports are investigated by an external committee.
But an internal letter Owehand sent to the board explains that she was on a collision course with the same board because she believed there had been too little “internal development,” too little “professionalism.” Eventually, it turned into a battle with one board member in particular. “Despite many different cries for help (…), things are still going very wrong on these two important points.”
She felt the board took a “negative stance.” “This attitude translates into ignoring or even defamation.”
Committee Chairman Van der Velden previously told this website that the committee itself received reports about Owehand, only when it was compiling the list. “If you, as a board, knew that these reports had been prepared, we do not believe it is ethical to withhold that.”
However, Owehand’s letter also indicates conflicts over the party’s direction. For example, she was allegedly instructed to direct all faction leaders to the opposition after the municipal elections. She didn’t want to, but the board did it according to her. “An unprecedentedly difficult and false battle has begun in my direction.”
Owehand even wrote that the argument was part of her reason Burnt In the fall of 2022. According to her, “blatant lies” were spread about her. A dispute arose with a “board member” but continued on the board.
Owehand then asked in a letter yesterday to remove people she “cannot trust” from the board and party, but this was followed by a complaint to her own address.
“I find it difficult to separate one from the other,” he said in a statement on the messaging service. She confirms that no integrity violations have been reported against her before. “I want to commit my heart and soul as party leader.”
Member of Parliament Christine Tønnessen, who was second behind Uehand in the previous election, described it as a shame that Esther had been pushed aside “by a bizarre statement”. “Esther did nothing but express her legitimate concerns in an internal letter about the lack of professionalism and poor morals within the party.”
Conflict with the party leadership
Tönnessen does not recognize herself in the image shown by the painting, as she is writing on the messaging service
Van der Velden does not want to comment on the nature of the reports, except that they are about “fairness”. “Integrity is an important concept for our party. Even the party leader’s job profile states that he must have integrity. I don’t want to say anything else about it, and I don’t want to prejudge the investigation.”
This summer, before the Integrity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) received the signals, the party had already expressed its intention to re-nominate Uwehand as party leader, but has now backed down. Next week, a committee of candidates will choose a new leader for the party.
The party’s board of directors says it regrets having to make this decision. Van der Velden admits that the decision could have serious consequences for the November 22 elections. According to the latest opinion polls, the Animal Party could win 7 to 10 seats in the upcoming elections. The party, which now holds 6 seats, has been growing steadily for years.
Ouwehand is an important part of this success. A member of the House of Representatives since 2006, she succeeded Marianne Thiem as party leader in 2019, having been there temporarily a year earlier. In the 2021 elections, it received 282,525 preferential votes, out of a total of 399,750 votes. In short, the new internal crisis could not have come at a worse time.
Robert Parker, leader of the Hague Party for the Animals, said the decision “was a bombshell” within the party. “This is completely unspoken.” In his opinion, the board should not have decided now to set Owehand aside. “I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. The board of directors will be called to decide on this matter at the conference. The conference is on September 24
According to Parker, it has to do with the “going on for some time” conflict between the board and Ouyhand. “I think it’s annoying not having a conversation.”
The party also immediately criticized the course of events. The Pink Youth Administration reacts with “horror” to the decision and says it supports Owehand “100 percent”.
“It’s unpalatable,” says Natania Frogdenhell, a party councilor for the Party for the Animals in Amersfoort, speaking via message service. There is only one solution: the board must resign. It’s Congress’ turn! Leonie Gerritsen, the chancellor of The Hague, is also furious with X. “A board that takes such a decision without ever taking the members with it is Completely inappropriate.’
Just four days ago, Owehand “proudly” presented the election manifesto for the Party for the Animals, in which she shouted: “No more harmful emissions from big business, or we will quit”.
This is not the first time that an internal uproar has occurred within the Party for the Animals. In 2010, Owehand was excluded from the list of candidates by the party leadership and Tim without giving reasons. The party conference did not accept this, after which Uehand was placed second and returned to parliament. There was another uproar in 2019 when Vemke MP Meriel van Kooten suddenly resigned. She pointed to the toxic culture within the party and Thiem’s leadership as the reason. Several (former) employees have confirmed this to this site.
Ouihand is another politician from The Hague to face such reports. Last year, Volt MP Nilufer Gundogan was accused of inappropriate behaviour. Complaints were also received regarding the former Speaker of Parliament, Khadija Arib, as well as about inappropriate behaviour. Both politicians had no idea about the reports and did not know what charges they were facing. They both also fought the charges. Gundogan and Arieb are assisted by the lawyer couple Gert Jan and Kari Knobs. Last month, Areeb demanded to know the accusations against her.
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