Over 10 parishes demand administrative reform be reviewed for constitutionality

The Supreme Court of Estonia, located in the city of Tartu. (Postimees/Scanpix)
7/14/2016 11:33 AM
Category: News

In addition to Kõpu Parish in Viljandi County, over ten other Estonian parishes want to see the administrative reform law passed on June 7 reviewed by the country's Supreme Court for its constitutionality as well.

Kambja Parish Mayor Ivar Tedremaa told ERR's online news portal that its application is currently being drawn up for the Supreme Court's Constitutional Review Chamber. "Kambja, Ülenurme, Nõo, Luunja, Pala and Rakke Parishes have jointly commissioned an analysis from a law firm for this," he said, adding that verbal agreements had also been reached with multiple other parishes as well.

Vaivara Parish Council Chairman Heiki Luts told ERR's online news portal that council members and parish leaders have unofficially discussed the possibility of taking the matter to the Supreme Court. "We have not set this as a definite goal," Luts specified. "We are currently in a vacation period, and the council will convene at the end of August."

According to Luts, Vaivara Parish, with its 1,750 residents living adjacent to the northeastern city of Narva, can manage on its own economically, which is why they find the requirement in the newly passed law forcing parishes with populations under 5,000 to merge with others, whether voluntarily or not, to be unjust.

Illuka Parish, also located in Ida-Viru County, has also considered contesting the administrative reform law in the Supreme Court.

Kõpu Parish recently took the nascent administrative reform law to the Supreme Court in order to contest its constitutionality, finding it to be unconstitutional. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted the parish an extension through July 25 to submit documents missing from its application to the court.

The court's Constitutional Review Chamber will have four months to settle the issue.

The Riigikogu passed the new administrative reform law on June 7, which sets the new minimum population for an independent parish at 5,000 residents as well as sets deadlines by which Estonian parishes and cities must comply with new requirements.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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