After three Saaremaa municipalities moved forward with plans to merge, other local governments on Estonia's largest island have also signaled willingness to merge into one super municipality, an opposite stance from last year.
“No head of a municipality said 'no' today. They would agree to opening talks, if Kuressaare were to make the proposal. That answer came as a surprise to me,” Kuressaare mayor Hannes Hanso told ETV on Wednesday, after a two-hour meeting of municipality heads.
Hanso said he would have expected only half of the island's 16 municipalities to support merging into one local government.
Now it is up to Kuressaare, the island's capital and by far largest settlement, to decide the next step.
The island had planned to hold a referendum on merging on the day of the local elections last October, but that vote was canceled due to poor planning.