Lithuanian MPs, expats to discuss preparations for citizenship referendum

  • 2023-11-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – A joint commission of the Seimas and the Lithuanian World Community (LWC) this week will discuss the progress of preparation for next May's referendum on multiple citizenship, and other issues of importance to Lithuanian expatriates. 

Other issues on the agenda of the commission's meetings on Tuesday through Thursday include the nurturing of national identity, strengthening civic engagement, increasing the involvement of the diaspora in Lithuanian life, promoting return migration to Lithuania, and providing assistance to returnees, the parliament's public relations office said.  

The agenda also includes discussions on cultural projects involving Lithuania and the diaspora, and the centennial of Lithuania's Song Festival in 2024, it said. 

On Thursday, the commission is to hold a joint meeting with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Ukrainian expatriates as part of efforts to make Vilnius and the LWC a center for uniting the Ukrainian diaspora.

The binding referendum on multiple citizenship is scheduled to be held on May 12, alongside the first round of the next presidential election. Removing the existing ban on dual citizenship from the Constitution requires a "yes" vote from more than 50 percent of all eligible voters.

MP Dalia Asanaviciute, head of the task group for the multiple citizenship referendum, has said that over 1.1 million Lithuanian citizens would have to vote in favor for the constitutional amendment to be approved.

Lithuania held a referendum on expanding possibilities for multiple citizenship in 2019, along with the presidential election, but fell short of votes to adopt the proposed amendment. 

Currently, people who left Lithuania after March 11, 1990 cannot hold dual citizenship, apart from a few exceptions. 

The Constitutional Court has ruled that this provision can only be changed via a referendum.