Lithuania to hold referendum to cut size of parliament

DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

A total of 58 MPs voted for, 42 against the referendum, 2 abstained and the rest of the parliament members didn’t participate in the voting.

The idea to hold a referendum to cut size of the Seimas, the Lithuanian Parliament, was initiated by the country’s ruling Farmers and Greens Union (LVZS). The party says the number of MPs should reflect the country’s shrinking population which currently is less than 3 million.

Smaller parliament would also help save around 2 million euros of administrative expenses annually, says LVZS.

“It costs around 100,000 euros a year to have one member of the Parliament,” Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of LVZS, told MPs.

Members of the opposition responded that the decision to cut size of the Seimas would put the country’s parliamentary system at risk, making it more vulnerable to corruption.

“Smaller parliament would mean less discussion, less diversity and more opportunities for various groups to bribe the Parliament easily at once,” Aušrinė Armonaitė, the MP from the group of non-attached MPs, told the Parliament.

The referendum to cut size of the parliament is to be held on May 12, alongside the first round of the country’s presidential elections.

Recently, the parliament also decided to hold a referendum on dual citizenship alongside the country’s presidential elections.

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