Lithuanians of New York expect referendum on dual citizenship

DELFI / Audrius Solominas

Griskonis, the head of a charitable fund supporting Lithuanian-language schools, told BNS that it was important for Lithuania to keep its citizens due to the sharp decline in its population numbers.

“The initiative to hold a referendum in Lithuania and amend the Constitution article is welcome. In today’s world, where movement between countries is a regular thing, it is vital for Lithuania to keep its citizens. If we don’t do this, connections will fade,” said the lawyer.

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Lithuania’s parliament is currently considering a proposal to call a referendum on dual citizenship in conjunction with parliamentary elections in October 2016, with the final decision in this respect to be made during the spring session of next year.

Under the proposal by the Liberal Movement, the referendum would render invalid the second part of Article 12 of the Constitution, which stipulates that nobody can hold citizenship of Lithuania and another country, with the exception of cases stipulated by law.

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Supporters of the liberalization maintain that dual citizenship must be allowed in order to allow Lithuanian expatriates, who are many and growing in number, to keep their ties to the country.

Meanwhile critics say citizens can only be loyal to one country, adding that ethnic minorities may seek foreign citizenship and, furthermore, Russia may take advantage of the scheme.

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