Olga Ivanova keeps attending party meetings and is once more a member of the influential Riigikogu Legal Affairs Committee despite having been evicted from the Center Party.
The ruling Center Party reshuffled its members in Riigikogu committees after former North Tallinn district mayor Karin Tammemägi joined the Riigikogu as the alternate member of Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov.
Olga Ivanova was afforded the chance to continue in the legal affairs committee that is one of the key committees of the parliament. The politician was initially moved from the legal affairs committee to the national defense committee when she was cast out of the party on September 11.
It was probably feared Ivanova would no longer vote in line with the coalition. Majority in the legal affairs committee that oversees almost all draft legislation was a matter of life and death for the coalition at the time.
Ivanova got her position back last week. “I’m back with the legal affairs committee now, and I’m glad. Budget votes went well. I support it. There is little tension in the faction,” Ivanova told Postimees, and added that she is still a full and equal member of the group.
Because Ivanova has vowed to contest Center’s decision to evict her at the party congress next year, it could be speculated she is looking to rehabilitate herself in the legal affairs committee. She has the deciding vote in the committee, while 54 votes are better than 53 also on the floor.
Ivanova said that she has little hope of having the decision reversed. Why is she so keen on remaining active in the party and contesting her eviction if that is the case?
“It is a matter of principle for me,” she explained. The politician pointed to the hypocrisy that saw her evicted because of running against the party at local elections in a situation where Edgar Savisaar remains a member. She does not deny having an emotional bond with the party. “I have given it ten years of my life after all,” Ivanova said.
The decision to trust Ivanova has been made by Center’s faction head Kersti Sarapuu. “As a mother of a big family, five children, Kersti knows how to have people stick together,” voices from the party say.
While Postimees was unable to contact Sarapuu over the phone, she sent in her written comment. “The Center Party faction decided in September that Olga Ivanova will continue as its member as she has promised to support the government’s goals and the faction’s work organization. Ivanova said at the time she believes there is no alternative to Center’s government. I find cooperation with all faction members, including Olga Ivanova, to be constructive and busy,” Sarapuu wrote.
What about Ivanova’s future in politics should the party stick to its decision? It will probably be very uncertain, as it is unlikely any other party would want to invite her to join.
Especially considering events that took place near the Bronze Soldier in May during which Ivanova gave an interview to Russian propaganda network Sputnik.
That is why Ivanova remained tight-lipped when asked about her plans for the 2019 elections. “I still have time. I’m still thinking, and I haven’t made a decision.”