D66 members question party summit about dealing with MeToo issue
The leaders of D66 will have to answer to the members of the party on Sunday about dealing with integrity issues. They will discuss both the MeToo case concerning former prominent party member Frans van Drimmelen be discussed and a recently revealed integrity issue concerning MEP Samira Rafaela, which has seemed to split the European D66 delegation.
These issues are expected to take center stage, although members are also allowed to raise matters about the working environment at D66. The party board announced the council of members in response to the Van Drimmelen issue, in which he allegedly stalked and blackmailed a female employee in 2015 and 2016.
The case appeared to be settled after a report that seemed to exonerate the lobbyist and party leader. But de Volkskrant reported last month about a confidential attachment stating that Van Drimmelen had indeed been guilty of stalking, threats and blackmail.
Party chairman Victor Everhardt and party leader Sigrid Kaag apologized for their attitude in the matter. According to Everhardt, D66 has failed to offer the victim "a safe working environment." Members will want to know why previous boards also failed to act, and why the confidential attachment was not followed up on for a year. Kaag's role will also be discussed, as the party leader herself admitted she reacted too coolly when the victim approached her.
Until recently, it seemed the party meeting would mainly focus on the Van Drimmelen case. But recently, another matter has also been discussed: on Friday, NRC reported that three former employees with complaints about Rafaela had gone to the integrity committee of D66. Their complaints were declared well-founded. Rafaela did not agree with the conclusions and threatened to leave the party.
The party has indicated that "several talks have been held in recent years" to keep the European delegation together. In addition to Rafaela, it consists of the Brussels veteran Sophie in 't Veld.
Reporting by ANP