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Unlikely that referendum on dual citizenship in Lithuania will be successful

May 03, 2019

Latest poll indicate that, most likely, number of voters voting in favor of changing the Constitution of Lithuania to allow dual and multiple citizenships will not be sufficient.

Currently, there are about 2.5 million Lithuanian citizens that have a right to vote. In order to change the Constitution of Lithuania, more than half of them (i.e. about 1.25 million) have to vote in favor of a new proposal.

Results of a poll ordered by Vilnius Institute for Policy show that even 74% of respondents plan to vote in an upcoming referendum. This turnover would be very high for Lithuania and can be explained that the first round of presidential elections and two referendums are held on the same day.

62.6% of those who plan to vote in an upcoming referendum said that they will vote in favor of dual citizenship, while 37.4% plan to vote against the change of the Constitution.

However, in spite of the majority of voters planning to vote in favor, their number, most likely, will not be sufficient to change the Constitution. Results of the poll indicate that about 1.15 million of the voters will vote in favor of changing the Constitution, however 1.25 million or more votes are needed in order to change it.

The referendum to change the Constitution in order to allow Lithuanian citizens also to be citizens of other countries will be held on May 12th, 2019.

Currently, the Constitution states that Lithuanian citizenship is acquired by birth except in certain cases established by law and that no person may be a citizen of Lithuania and another country or state at the same time, except in special cases. This provision of the Constitution can only be changed by a referendum.

A number of people were able to successfully get dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent, which is considered to be an exception and allowed by the Constitution.

Many Lithuanians who live abroad anticipate this change of the Constitution. Emigration was one of the main reasons why the population in Lithuania decreased from 3.7 million people in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2017. Many Lithuanians living abroad want to keep their Lithuanian citizenship even if they acquire citizenship of another country. However, currently, it is not allowed by the Constitution.

The Constitutional amendment by referendum also would allow finalizing the Law on Citizenship of Lithuania so that it would allow more people of Lithuanian descent restore their dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent.

For legal advice on acquiring Lithuanian citizenship by descent, please visit our Contacts page or send an email to [email protected].

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