Councils would only be merged in Wales if residents approved plans in a local referendum, under plans launched by the Welsh Conservatives.
The Welsh Government is currently pushing ahead with plans to cut the number of local authorities from 22 to a reported eight or nine, following the publication of the Williams Commission review of local government.
However, the Conservatives said they would oppose ‘forced’ mergers and put the decision making process in the hands of local people.
Shadow minister for local government, Janet Finch-Saunders, said: ‘As we’ve said all along, where Councils can work together, share services and save money they have the backing and support of Welsh Conservatives – but only with the consent of local people.
‘Our plans would put power back in to local hands, ensuring any merger is put to residents via a referendum.’