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More municipalities contesting forced mergers

Map of the rural municipality of Lasva.
Map of the rural municipality of Lasva. Source: (

Two more rural municipalities are appealing their forced merger with neighboring areas. Lasva in Võru County as well as Mikitamäe in Põlva County are taking the matter to the Supreme Court.

The municipality of Lasva isn’t happy with its forced merger as ordered by the government with neighboring Orava, Vastseliina, Sõmerpalu, and Võru. The plan is to unite all five territories to form a new and larger Võru municipality.

Mikitamäe doesn’t want to merge with Meremäe, Värska, Misso, and Luhamaa to form a new municipality, to be called Setomaa.

Already last week six municipalities turned to the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court to contest the government’s decision to merge them with their neighbors.

The court now has four months in each case to rule whether or not the forced mergers are constitutional. The municipalities are contesting the government’s decision on the grounds of disproportional action, as at least some of the cases actually meet the requirements of the Administrative Reform Act even without a merger.

The act, passed by the Riigikogu last year, specifies a minimum number of residents per rural municipality of 5,000, ideally 11,000. Some of the municipalities now appealing to the Supreme Court meet this requirement.

The others meanwhile are pointing to the town of Loksa in Harju County. Despite its 2,738 residents being far below the required number, Loksa was granted an exception by the government—creating a precedent several others are now pointing to, saying that they don’t understand what it is that makes their cases any different.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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