Volt again moves to expel MP Nilüfer Gündoğan, accused of abusive behavior
The Volt political party will expel MP Nilüfer Gündoğan from the party’s faction in Parliament, and will expel her as a member of the party, Volt’s board wrote in a letter sent to its members. The other Volt parliamentarians, Laurens Dassen and Marieke Koekkoek, are on the board. They said on Friday evening that there is an "insurmountable political conflict and breach of trust.”
On Tuesday they will vote on Gündoğan's party membership. As a member of what is currently a three-member group, she will be allowed to vote against the move, but she will lose once Dassen and Koekkoek vote her out. The party board intends to proceed with Gündoğan’s expulsion during a meeting on March 28. She was informed of this plan, according to the board, who said Gündoğan “puts the party and its objectives at a disadvantage in an unreasonable way.”
Gündoğan is at loggerheads with the party, after reports of transgressive behavior against her, and her subsequent suspension from the group. A recent article by NRC profiled five of the 13 people who filed complaints against her, which include sexual harassment, unwanted touching, comments about homosexuality, drunken sexual advances, and angry outbursts. One said she sexually propositioned him in a late night phone call, while others said she made drunken sexual advances during party rallies in Sofia, Rome, and Lisbon, and also at her own birthday party in June 2020. She was also accused of mocking a gay colleague, and repeatedly calling him a “girl” despite his objections.
"We were together a lot in one room, and then Nilüfer hit me on the butt multiple times," said one party worker who was 17 at the time. She said Gündogan exerted her dominance for an extended period. "I'm pretty sure it didn't happen with sexual intent. It was clearly intended as intimidation. It startled me. I remember I was making tea. She stood next to me and said: Are you feeling it today? And then a slap."
With encouragement from Dassen, she later confronted Gündogan during a team-building weekend, saying she felt disrespected by Gündogan. "She became furious and scolded me. She called me a snot-nose, a kid. Said I was dangerous to the party and that I had to listen to her." The young woman burst out in tears. No one intervened, she said.
Then, last month, the faction proceeded to suspend her, and eventually expel her. Gündoğan said she was not aware of the content of the complaints lodged against her for a long time. She denied the allegations, and filed suit against Volt.
The judge canceled Volt's sanctions, and ordered the faction to take Gündoğan back. The party will appeal against that ruling, the board wrote. "Members of parliament and factions are ultimately independent in a parliamentary democracy. The board of the association cannot force two elected representatives (Laurens and Marieke) to continue working with her in a political group."
On Thursday evening, Gündoğan said on the television program, Jinek, that she will not withdraw her claim of defamation and slander against the party and the 13 people who reported her for misconduct. On the contrary, she plans to expand her complaint. Withdrawing the declarations was a condition for reconciliation, according to the board and Dassen. Despite expanding the report, Gündoğan expressed the hope that things would work out between her and the group.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.