Parliament speaker critical of restrictions on citizens’ referendum initiatives

DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

According to current laws, parliament is obliged to call a referendum if so require at least 300,000 citizens. However, a proposal has been put forward to disregard the initiatives that contradict the Constitution.

According to Graužinienė, this would be a restriction on democracy, interfering with people’s right to express their opinion. She says the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) should be the institution that closely assesses whether a referendum question conforms to legal requirements. Moreover, the right exists to address the Constitutional Court over the issue.

The daily Lietuvos Žinios reported on Wednesday that the Ministry of Justice prepared amendments to the Law on Referendum. If adopted, the Seimas would be authorised to filter “suspicious” referendum initiatives. Based on the amendments, only one clearly-formulated question could be asked in a referendum rather than several.

The draft law was prepared after the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the Seimas is obligated to refuse to call a referendum if it does not meet constitutional requirements. Moreover, if a question put for the universal vote is unclear, misleading or involves several unrelated questions, it should also disqualify the initiative.

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