Aradippou mayor Evangelos Evangelides said Tuesday he was strongly opposed to any merging of his  municipality with Larnaca, saying it could function perfectly well independently.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Evangelides commented on the government’s flagship local government reform which sees the number of municipalities almost halved through wide-ranging mergers.

Presented in 2019, the reform proposed the merger of 30 municipalities and 48 communities in Cyprus.

“Local governments are among the foundations of our democracy and are the institutions closer to the people,” Evangelides said.

“Local governments listen to the needs and the problems of the citizens more than any other institution in the country. Their role needs to be preserved. Wanting to dismantle local governments undermines our democracy.”

Specifically on Aradippou’s proposed merger with Larnaca, Evangelides said that, due to his municipality’s size, the move would harm residents, “who have different needs than the people living in Larnaca.”

He added that the potential negative effects of the merger have been carefully laid out in a study commissioned by the interior ministry and prepared by Dr Charalambos Koutalakis.

“The study clearly shows that Aradippou can stand on its own feet, both at operational and financial levels.

“The economic viability and the development perspectives of our municipality have also been confirmed by another study caried out by Ernst&Young.

“We already have the necessary organisation, infrastructure and know-how to respond to the needs of our citizens. Over the years, we have also supported other local governments, such as the one in Livadia.

“We don’t need less local governments, if anything we need better local governments, with administrative and financial autonomy, equipped with the powers, responsibilities and resources they require to fulfil their roles,” Evangelides concluded.