Former Minister Calls for National Referendum on Administrative Reform (2)
Former Minister of Justice Jüri Raidla has said that Estonia's administrative system is in desperate need of a thorough overhaul and that a national referendum is the only way to make it happen.
Just prior to heading to a conference on governance in Pärnu on October 13, Raidla told ETV that reforms have been delayed due to resistance by political parties and local government representatives who don't want to see existing power structures broken up.
The conference will focus on changing the overall administrative system and administrative culture in the country, as well as on reducing the number of public institutions.
According to Raidla, administrative reform has been discussed by governments since 1997, but all efforts have failed no matter which coalition was in power.
"There is no other choice but to hold a referendum and address the issue," he said, summarizing his view that real change would come only when a critical mass of people realize the government won't have enough resources to properly run the country in 20 or 30 years.
He also said that about two-thirds of local governments are currently not able to carry out their functions as laid out by the law and the nation's constitution.
Earlier this week, a report by Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder also called for major changes, saying that reducing the number of local governments was inevitable.
Teder pointed to what he said was a clear conflict between the range of functions that local governments are required to handle and their populations and budgets.