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Aab: Recipients of exceptions have met with the PM

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PHOTO: Liis Treimann

New Minister of State Administration Jaak Aab says that Loksa was allowed to remain independent because cooperation with Kuusalu parish simply isn’t working.

The government decided not to merge Center-run Loksa and its 2,700 residents with its neighbor. For what does the Center Party owe Loksa’s rulers Värner and Helle Lootsmann such a debt of gratitude as to agree to an exception that in essence overturns the entire idea of the administrative reform?

This is not about Lootsmann. Decisions are based on arguments of which there are both for and against in every local government’s case. I proceed based on the government’s discretionary right.

Looking at the map, the region would have needed a different local government altogether. Putting Loksa with Kuusalu is not enough. Because the framework was one of voluntary mergers, and Haljala and Vihula did merge, there is no logical solution.

The main reason not to merge Loksa and Kuusalu is their rather singular reluctance to cooperate. On the level of councils, city and parish governments, residents. There is no coherent network of services, no integration whatsoever. Arbitrary marriage - to borrow Ülle Madise’s (justice chancellor - ed.) expression - is not a good option. There has been at least some negotiation elsewhere, while these two have hardly exchanged two words. They’ve only sent letters.

Why were decisions postponed in four areas?

That was the government’s consensus. The local governments in questions have been very active: held surveys, made inquiries, residents have met met with the PM. A lot of these exceptions have met with the prime minister. That is why it was decided to weigh additional arguments once more. We asked regional committees to do so by June 28.

How can you guarantee there will be elections in all local governments come fall? Local governments were supposed to designate their electoral territory and number of mandates by June 15.

I regret these decisions were not made earlier; however, I’ve been in this office for three days. Local governments can no longer pursue election activities themselves after June 15. It will fall to county governments in a lot of cases.

Regarding court actions, the question is whether they will freeze processes. If the processes are not frozen, elections will take place in new merged local governments, while if the court decides to put them on hold, they will take place in current local governments. Hardly a disaster in itself - elections will definitely take place.

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