Lithuanian parliament sets May 12 date for dual citizenship referendum

  • 2019-03-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian parliament has set May 12 as the date for holding a dual citizenship referendum. 

The Seimas passed the respective resolution last Sunday with 85 votes in favor, none against and three abstentions. The move was supported by lawmakers from both the ruling bloc and the opposition. 

In the referendum, voters will be asked to decide whether to allow dual citizenship to citizens of countries meeting " Euroatlantic integration criteria", with a list of such countries to be set by a law.

Currently, people who left Lithuania after it regained independence in 1990 cannot hold dual citizenship, apart from a few exceptions. That provision can only be amended by referendum.

On May 12, Lithuania will also hold its presidential election and a referendum initiated by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union to cut the size of the Seimas from 141 to 121 seats. 

"Despite various efforts to prevent the referendum from taking place, we have just announced the date of the referendum. Congratulations to everyone," Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, said following the vote. 

The announcement was welcomed by Lithuania's former President Valdas Adamkus and several tens of other prominent public figures.   

Those who have promised to actively support for the "yes" campaign in the referendum include Vilnius Archbishop Gintaras Grusas, basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis, Olympic gold-winning swimmer Ruta Meilutyte, Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis, writer Tomas Venclova, and historian Alfredas Bumblauskas.