Volt allowed to expel MP Gündoğan over harassment accusations, appeals court rules
The Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ruled in political party Volt’s favor in the appeal on whether it was justified to expel Nilüfer Gündoğan from Volt’s parliamentary faction. Partly leader Laurens Dassen and Volt MP Marieke Koekkoek expelled Gündoğan after reports of transgressive behavior. The court ruled in Gündoğan’s favor when she challenged this decision, entitling her to compensation and allowing her to return to Volt. But the Court of Appeal now scrapped that ruling.
According to the Court of Appeal, there are several points in the first ruling that Gündoğan no longer has any interest in. For example, she decided not to ask to be readmitted to the Volt faction. “I don’t care about it,” she said during the hearing.
Gündoğan is also not entitled to compensation for image damage suffered through a Volt press release, the Court of Appeal ruled. The press release stated that Gündoğan had been suspended due to reports of transgressive behavior. The Court found the press release “slightly premature,” and the wording was “unfortunately chosen in some respects.” But according to the court, the press release was based on the facts that were known at the time. Compensation is, therefore, not necessary.
Another point of contention was whether political parties are allowed to expel members if there is majority support for it in the faction. Gündoğan and her defense argued that an employer couldn’t just dismiss an employee. But legal scholars differ on this point. Some, such as professor of constitutional law Wim Voermans, believe that association law does not apply to political parties. The court also referred to the similar case of VVD Senator Anne-Wil Duthler. The VVD expelled her, and the courts later ruled that it was allowed.
Gündoğan wants to argue this last point further in a substantive procedure - a more extensive trial in which the question of whether or not a faction has this power can be further explored. But because the Court of Appeal can’t assume that she will win the substantive procedure on the merits of her argument due to the differing views, she will not be awarded any compensation for this either.
Thirteen people accused Gündoğan of harassment, physical assault, and making sexual advances. She is now an independent parliamentarian.
Reporting by ANP