More parishes consider turning to Supreme Court over Administrative Reform Act

The Supreme Court of Estonia, located in the city of Tartu. (Postimees/Scanpix)
7/19/2016 3:12 PM
Category: News

Six parishes have ordered legal analyses in preparation of a complaint to the Supreme Court about the Administrative Reform Act. Four others have expressed interest in a similar course of action, a number that is likely to increase.

The Kambja, Ülenurme, Nõo, Luunja, Pala, and Rakke parishes are already having analyses made, while the parishes of Meeksi, Vara, Kallaste, and Kullamaa are currently discussing this option. Similar intentions have been expressed in the Vaivara and Illuka parishes as well.

Heiki Luts, the chairman of Varvara parish’s local council, told ERR’s online news that he was discussing turning to the Supreme Court with the other council members. “It’s not a definite course yet. People are on holiday, the council will come together at the end of August,” he said.

Nonetheless, Vaivara, with its 1,750 residents far below the Administrative Reform Act’s minimum parish size, is discussing it. The reason for it is that despite its small size, the parish, located close to the eastern city of Narva, is doing well economically, and doesn’t agree with the forced mergers required by the new law.

Among Ida-Viru County’s parishes, another that’s currently considering doing the same is Illuka.

The parish of Kõpu in Viljandi County had made the beginning, turning to Estonia’s Supreme Court in Tartu in late June this year demanding that the Administrative Reform Act’s constitutionality be examined.

The court announced on Tuesday that Kõpu had until Jul. 25 to supply documents currently missing. After that, the court then has four months to come up with a decision.

On Jun. 7, the Riigikogu had adopted the government’s administrative reform bill. It entered into law on Jul. 1. The Administrative Reform Act sets the required minimum number of inhabitants of a parish at 5,000. Parishes that don’t meet this requirement have until the end of 2016 to negotiate mergers with their neighbors. After that, the government will step in and reorganize the country’s administrative borders accordingly.

Kõpu parish complains that the Administrative Reform Act was neither justified nor proportional, which in their assessment made it unconstitutional.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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