Kõpu Municipality is currently in merger talks with Suure-Jaani and Kõo Municipalities and the town of Võhma. According to the results of a referendum that drew to a close on Monday night, however, local residents are in fact more in favor of merging with Viljandi Municipality.
A total of 295 of Kõpu Municipality's 556 eligible voters took part in the three-day referendum which sought to determine whether local residents were in favor of merging with and having the seat of the municipality be Viljandi, 20 kilometers away, or Suure-Jaani, 30 kilometers away.
Of the nearly 300 residents who participated, 123 were in favor of merging with Suure-Jaani while 172 were against it.
While the preference of the people is now known, however, the municipal council, set to convene before Christmas, is nonetheless not required to take public opinion into account.
Furthermore, as the Kõpu municipal council had already previously chosen to break off merger talks with Viljandi Municipality, the council isn't actually left with any other choice but to approve the merger with Suure-Jaani.
"The deadlines are so close to Jan. 1 that we wouldn't be able to terminate negotiations with the local government being formed by Suure-Jaani, Kõo and Võhma and initiate new [merger] talks with Viljandi Municipality," said Kõpu mayor Siim Avi.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla