The SP department heads on Saturday confirmed the judgment that the national party board should not have pushed through participation in the municipal elections in Rotterdam. The party council endorsed the statement of the internal appeals committee that the SP top “sidelined democratically taken decisions” in that decision. A motion of censure against the actions of the party board did not win a majority.
In recent months there has been unrest in the SP about the state of affairs regarding the participation of the Rotterdam department in the elections earlier this year. The department voted in majority against participation, partly out of dissatisfaction with the expulsion of candidate councilors who were not loyal to the SP.
Party council of SP behind closed doors for the first time in years
Last autumn, the expulsions of critical members in many SP departments led to problems and conflicts, as a result of which the SP participated in far fewer municipalities. The party board of the SP continued to participate in Rotterdam with an alternative list, which resulted in a seat.
Tap fingers very exceptional
A group of Rotterdam members objected to that decision and was recently proved right by the internal appeals committee. He ruled that according to the statutes of the SP, only a department can decide on election participation, and not the party board. It is very exceptional at the SP that the party board receives such a heavy slap on the fingers from its own appeal committee. SP secretary Arnout Hoekstra continues to maintain that the SP board has done nothing wrong and contested the committee’s interpretation of the statutes in a letter prior to the party council.
The appeals committee proposes that the party board enter into discussions with those involved from Rotterdam “in order to restore relations and trust in each other”. The board must also come up with a plan before September to “prevent similar situations in the future”. The party council supported these proposals on Saturday.
A number of departments thought this did not go far enough and on Saturday came up with a motion of censure against the party board. The motion stated that the party leadership “does not appear to accept that it has made mistakes” and called on the party management to find out “which board members bear responsibility for these decisions and ask them to resign from their positions”. The motion of censure was submitted by the departments of Rotterdam, Wageningen, Assen, Zaltbommel, Amersfoort, Zeist, Brunssum and Dordrecht.
A party spokesperson said Saturday there was “virtually no support” from other departments for the vote of censure at the party council.
The party council was held behind closed doors on Saturday: journalists were not welcome for the first time in years. According to the SP, this decision was taken because department heads “feel inhibited” in the presence of the media and “do not dare to speak freely”.