Lithuanian PM doesn't favor lowering threshold for referendum

  • 2024-05-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – With a referendum on dual citizenship underway in Lithuania, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte does not think that the threshold should be lowered for the plebiscite to take place. 

"When you miss the basket, do you lower it to make it easier to score? I believe we have the high threshold for the referendum for a good reason. The referendum as an institution should not be devalued," Simonyte told the Znad Wilii radio station on Friday.

"Efforts need to be made for the referendum to take place and succeed. If the turnout is too low, we will have to return to this issue through the same referendum process," she added. 

Lithuania is holding a presidential election and a binding referendum on whether allow dual citizenship on Sunday. 

In the plebiscite, voters are asked whether or not to amend Article 12 of the Constitution by removing the clause preventing Lithuanian citizens from acquiring a second citizenship. It states that "with the exception of individual cases provided for by law, no one may be a citizen of both the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time". 

The amended Article 12 would read: "Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania shall be acquired by birth or on other grounds established by law. The procedure for the acquisition and loss of citizenship shall be established by law."

More than 50 percent of all eligible voters must vote in favor of the amendment for it to be adopted. 

In a similar referendum in 2019, 956,564 people, or 38 percent of all voters, supported dual citizenship, falling short of the threshold. 

"I truly hope for the success (of Sunday's referendum). It does not seem impossible, because polls show that people support the idea of retaining one's citizenship," Simonyte said.

"We saw the same in the last referendum, when too few people turned out, but a very large number of them voted in favor," she added.