Member of the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) Olga Ivanova has announced that she is to leave the Centre Party' governing board, and most probably the party, citing what she saw as the party's unjust handling of its members in the Narva City Council.
A total of at least thirteen Centre Party councillors in Narva quit the party on Thursday following Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' demand that eight councillors vacate their seats in the wake of accusations of corruption.
Speaking to ERR, Ms. Ivanova said that she was also considering leaving the party altogether, but that her move to quit its governing board would preempt any situation where she would be still officially on the board, but not an actual party member.
''By leaving the party' board it will avert any possible scenario where I was on the party's board without actually being a party member any more,'' she told ERR.
''I was considering my options already, but the injustice meted out to the Centre Party's Narva branch was the tipping point after which I decided I no longer wanted to be a member either of the party, or its board,'' she went on.
Effects in run up to 2019 elections
She also pointed towards the potential negative shockwaves that the episode will send out through the electorate, something which would have consequences in the March 2019 general election in Estonia.
Ms. Ivanova told ERR that she has not yet decided what her next move will be in terms of her political career.
Centre Party Secretary General Mihhail Korb, when asked for his view by ERR, said that since she had been on the board of the party for no more than a year, her move was understandable, and leaving the party altogether was a question for her own conscience, but hinted that Ms. Ivanova's potential departure from Centre might itself be one of the detrimental developments to which she had referred.
''I believe that the voters can be better represented and have issues close to their hearts' more easily resolved, with her as a member of the party,'' Mr. Korb said.
''In any case I hope that Olga Ivanova takes into account the fact that she was sent by voters to the Riigikogu as a member of the Centre Party and that she continues to embody the party's worldview when in parliament, regardless of her decision,'' he went on.
Meanwhile the Narva City Council has a new chair, another former Centre Party member Irina Janovitš, who also left the party and is part of a new grouping which calls itself 'Our Home Narva' ('Meie Kodu Narva').
Olga Ivanova has been a Centre Party member since 2006 and was elected to the Riigikogu in 2015, representing the Lasnamäe district. She is a native of Narva.
Editor: Andrew Whyte