The municipal mergers demanded by the Administrative Reform Act mean that Lääne County will lose part of its territory to Pärnu County. This means that some 3,500 voters will leave Estonia’s westernmost electoral district, which again may affect its number of mandates in parliament.
The Free Party recently submitted a request for explanations concerning Lääne County to Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb (Center). According to the party’s chairman, Andres Herkel, the county, already Estonia’s smallest, was about to shrink further, as several of its municipalities were merging with neighboring administrative units in Pärnu County.
According to Herkel, this affected the area’s historic identity. The municipalities of Lihula and Hanila, for example, historically had always been part of Lääne County, but were now going to be part of Pärnu instead. This would affect the local electoral districts as well.
Member of the Riigikogu for Lääne County, Lauri Luik (Reform), is of the opinion that due to the changes the ongoing implementation of the Administrative Reform Act will bring, both Saare and Lääne County stood to lose a mandate in parliament.
“If now some 3,500 people are moved over to Pärnu County, away from Hanila and Lihula, then I think that it is relatively logical that our district is left with one fewer mandate as well. Up to now there were six mandates,” Luik said. He added that the number of mandates left would also depend on the government’s plans concerning Estonia’s electoral districts.
There had been talk that Lääne and Rapla County might end up in the same district together, Luik said. This might make sense, as Harju and Rapla County combined made for a massively larger district due to their larger population than the one currently encompassing the islands and Lääne County.
Herkel pointed out that the situation was already complicated, as the areas currently organized in that district differed greatly, and there was regional animosity: people e.g. on the island of Saaremaa were reluctant to vote for candidates e.g. from the island of Hiiumaa, or from the mainland, and vice versa.
Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb said that the issue certainly needed to be taken up in the cabinet.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn