Social Dems Reject Name, Block Municipal Merger ({{commentsTotal}})

The Social Democrats have halted the merger of three local governments in Saaremaa saying the new administrative unit should not be named after the island, as there are other municipalities also on the island.

MP Neeme Suur told ERR today that the name is part of the identity and the new local government can not be called Saaremaa, as the island is large and has many other municipalities.

PM Taavi Rõivas said the Cabinet spent an unproportional amount of time on the subject, and the government's approval for the merger will be discussed at the next meeting as the decision requires a consensus.

Rõivas, a Reform Party member, said he is disappointed with the lack of progress and the wasted time, saying there is a war going on in Ukraine and his attention is needed on that subject. “It is inappropriate to spend such length on the topic of whether locals have the right to choose the name for their municipality or not,” he said.

The case concerns the Kaarma, Kärla and Lümanda municipalities (combined population 7,200), but the entire island (population 31,000), 14 municipalities and one city, could also unite in the not-so-distant future.