Lithuanian parliamentarians began considering the proposal to hold a mandatory referendum on the legalization of multiple citizenships. The referendum will be held on May 12, 2024.
After submission, 101 Seimas members voted for such a draft resolution, one was against it, and four abstained. The referendum is planned to be held together with the first round of the presidential election. It is proposed to vote in the referendum on the following amendment to the Constitution:
“Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania is acquired at birth and on other grounds and procedures established by the constitutional law. The Constitutional Law also establishes the grounds and procedure for the loss of citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania.”
In this way, the ban on having dual citizenship would be removed from the country’s main law. The detailed conditions for acquiring and losing dual citizenship, the procedure, and other matters will be determined by constitutional law.
As we wrote earlier, the draft Citizenship Constitutional Law was registered in the legislative base of the Seimas. It stipulates that a Lithuanian citizen would not lose his citizenship if he acquired the citizenship of a country that meets the criteria of European and Transatlantic integration, that is, the citizenship of the member states of the European Union, NATO, the European Economic Area Agreement, and the countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In the project, it is distinguished that the criteria of European and transatlantic integration chosen by Lithuania do not meet the criteria of the states that are together the allied states of Belarus and Russia, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, other political, military, economic organizations created based on the former USSR. or members of other states’ unions or commonwealths.
In addition, persons of Lithuanian origin and those who left Lithuania before March 11, 1990, as well as their descendants, who got married to foreigners and therefore acquired the citizenship of their spouse, and who received refugee status in Lithuania, could have dual citizenship. Lithuanian citizenship would also be granted for merit.
Dalia Asanavičiūtė, the chairwoman of the working group that prepared the constitutional amendment project, emphasized that much work will be needed to make the referendum successful this time. She said:
“We need all of us to focus here, to ask our relatives to come, participate, vote because we have no other way. And if the referendum fails this time, I don’t know if it will be possible for the third time, at least in the near future,”
In 2019, with the presidential elections, a referendum was already held, which was aimed to expand the possibilities of having dual citizenship, but then the turnover of voters was not high enough to adopt such an amendment.
We will keep you updated on the latest developments on the planned referendum and call on the citizens of Lithuania to take an active part in it.