Despite the government shooting down IRL's administrative reform plan Thursday, Tallinn University of Technology regional politics lecturer Mikk Lõhmus said he hopes the new government will not ditch the idea completely.
Estonia currently has 215 municipalities, with many reporting populations in the low triple figures. The aim of IRL's reform was to cut the number of local governments to around 50 to 60, improving capabilities and saving on administration costs.
If the topic is forgotten for a year (until the next elections), it would show politicians have no desire to deal with administrative reform, Lõhmus told ETV on Thursday.
Lõhmus, who is also head of a municipality, said he is speaking from experience when saying that larger municipalities function better. “The stronger become stronger and the weaker become even more weak. At some point only the strong will survive, and they will be surrounded by empty land.”
Since 1997 there has been six or seven attempts to reform the system. He said most began from the wrong end, as politicians wanted to make a name for themselves, adding that all municipalities should first be asked their opinion.