No. 17




Options for Multi-level Government in the Legal organisation of the Estonian Local Government

18 June 2008


RiTo No. 17, 2008

  • Leif Kalev

    Leif Kalev

    Professor of Political Studies, Tallinn University

The structure of the Estonian local government is kept as simple as possible: municipality and city, with municipality district and city district on the lower level.

The diversity options stipulated in the Constitution have, for the most part, been ignored. This structure, which is more fitting for the post-Soviet transition period, no longer provides any potential for development. Unfortunately, the local government reform developed by the central government as a solution in 2001 fell flat for political reasons. Local government matters have been avoided in public policy ever since, with sluggish implementation of the reform plan supported through voluntary mergers of local governments. Problems in the core of the local government reform have not, however, disappeared ― they have grown. In the author’s opinion, the use of multi-level government-type solutions would be the most refreshing solution for the local government system. Changes would only be introduced in a way which would not damage the capacity of local government units. The process could be started with tested models on the voluntary co-operation level, moving on to more innovative solutions thereafter.

Full article in Estonian