The Party for the Animals once had a slogan: “Never compromise your ideals.” According to party leader Esther Uehand, her party’s issues “are now on the mainstream political scene,” but she does not want to participate in a coalition with parties that “are not taking any action.” You say that on the election broadcast News hour.
Her predecessor, Marian Thieme, said in 2017: “Political ideals are too important to replace a place in controls.” “For the PvdD, power is never a goal in itself,” Owehand says now. “But if a real change of course is possible through a coalition of parties that can solve problems fundamentally, the PvdD will participate.”
The party won both the municipal elections and the provincial council elections. For the first time, the PvdD actually joins a coalition in a number of municipalities: in Groningen, Almere, Amersfoort, Arnhem, Heerlen, and recently in The Hague. In Almere and Heerlen the party even rules alongside the VVD.
An Ipsos poll shows that a majority of supporters want the party to also participate in national governance. More than sixty percent agree with the statement: “I would prefer the party to join the government rather than remain in the opposition.”
In the municipalities, a number of factions saw “room for a green agreement,” says Uyhand. “This is also sometimes possible with VVD and in exceptional cases, as in Amersfoort, as well as with CDA.”
Common thread conflicts
It was still doubtful in September that Ouyhand would be party leader. A leadership struggle then broke out within the party, with the board pushing Oyhand aside. Reason: integrity reports. Owehand stepped down temporarily and announced this at the end of the party conference, much to the surprise of the members. A few hours after these members voted for it with an overwhelming majority of 96.3 percent.
After Uwehand appointed a lawyer, the decision was overturned and the board resigned. The new board concluded that there were no integrity violations by Oyhand.
This was not the first time the party had tried to oust Owehand. Also in 2010, Oyhand’s party board did not want him on the list of candidates. “There is discussion about professionalizing our party,” she says. “This is the common thread of the struggles. At the end of the day, I am the leader of internal development, which is something the members also spoke in favor of. Now we have clarity on that.”
Owehand wrote this year about the state of her party, saying she had reached the “bleak conclusion” that a “professionalization step is crucial,” but it had not been done. And that the party does not meet the “basic level” that members and voters can expect.
Now she says she has had to fight hard for a different path. “I think local factions should be given space to have their own autonomy. Where we are very clear about our ideals and fight for them and encourage others. These factions in the country are not like that.” top down Tell them they are not allowed to participate in orientation. We have to continue to improve, and this is what I fought for internally.”
She believes that the PvdD should break away from the group of people who founded the party. “Fortunately, we can now continue. The stagnation that occurred earlier unfortunately led to violent expressions in which the old council acted incorrectly and illegally.”
The resigned council
But has the conflict within the party disappeared? Niko Kaufmann, in his own words, the founder of the party, the leader of the faction in the Senate and the representative of the old Senate who resigned, is still there. She wants to join News hour He didn’t say much about it and Kaufman didn’t speak to him after the conflict. She says: “We each have our own role. Overalls We share the same ideals. The Senate also operates according to these ideals.”
Senator Niko Kaufmann also speaks on the Senate floor on topics that may sometimes affect his business interests. Owehand believes that it is important that the person speaking does not have any interest in this matter. “You have to separate yourself from the spokesperson.” She says she will talk to Kaufman about it. Watch the full conversation here:
In conversation with PvdD leader Esther Uwehand
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