One obstacle in the way of a council shake-up may have already been cleared. When Carwyn Jones said recently that he's 'open' to the idea of starting the process of reorganisation before the next Welsh election he also said he 'doesn't like changing manifesto commitments.' Read what he said here.
But it turns out there is no manifesto commitment NOT to reorganise local government before the 2016 election. You can search Labour's 2011 manifesto for yourself here. It seems it had been a pledge during the drafting process but didn't make it to the final document.
The rest of the First Minister's hurdles remain and it's still unlikely that any legislation to cut the number of councils would make it through the Assembly before 2016. But at least Carwyn Jones doesn't have to worry about breaking a manifesto pledge.