Lithuanian PM supports exception making dual citizenship referendum easier to pass

Algirdas Butkevičius
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“I am in support of dual citizenship. (…) However, if we see that we cannot achieve the result by way of referendum, we should revise the law to allow a smaller number of people have their say for granting citizenship to people who have left Lithuania. I believe there would be no tragedy here,” the head of the government told journalists at the parliament on Thursday.

The Social Democrats have drafted an amendment to the Referendum Law to have a change to Article 12 of the Constitution approved by the votes of two thirds of the citizens voting in the ballot.

The current language of the Referendum Law requires that adoption of amendments to Chapter 1 of the Constitution requires votes from at least half of all eligible voters.

Lithuanian politicians are considering the possibility to hold a referendum on dual citizenship, but communities living abroad maintain that the attempt to legalize dual citizenship under the current requirements would not be successful.

Under Article 12 of the Lithuanian Constitution, nobody can hold citizenship of Lithuania and another country at the same time, with the exception of individual cases stipulated by law.

Lithuania’s Constitutional Court has ruled that dual citizenship can only be allowed by way of changing the country’s organic laws, which can only be done by referendum.

Currently, dual citizenship is only allowed for citizens who left Lithuania before it regained independence in 1990 and their descendants. However, it is not granted to those who emigrated over the 26 years of independence.

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