Animal party leader leaves parliament after 13 years

PvdD leader Marianne Thieme is leaving the Tweede Kamer as of October 8th, she announced during a members' meeting on Sunday. She will be succeeded as the leader of the animal party by parliamentarian Esther Ouwehand, reports.

"In May, after the 24th successful election since our founding, I decided that it was a good time to hand over the baton, so that my succession can be worked on over the next 18 months until the next election", Thieme said on Sunday. Eva van Esch, PvdD faction leader in the municipality of Utrecht, will take over Thieme's parliamentary seat on October 9th.

Thieme was one of the founders of the PvdD, which started as a green- and animal rights-focused movement in 2002. She was elected to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, in the November 2006 elections. The party then made its debut in parliament with two seats.

"For 13 years Marianne Thieme proved as parliamentarian that you can build a political party based on conviction and content", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter in response to Thieme's announcement. "I will keep good memories of our contacts during that long period. Great respect for what she has achieved. I wish her the best for the future."

"A great advocate for green politics is leaving the Kamer. Great respect for what Marianne Thieme has built over the past years", GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said on Twitter. "All the best Marianne. And good luck Esther Ouwehand!"