Lithuanian PM supports idea of referendum on dual citizenship

  • 2015-04-23
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, VILNIUS

The Prime Minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Butkevicius, has said that he does not oppose the Liberal Movement's proposal to hold a referendum on dual citizenship to coincide with parliamentary elections next year. However he believes that it should be left to experts on legislation to formulate the phrasing of the questions for the referendum.

On Thursday the Liberal Movement will submit its proposal to the Seimas. They have offered to remove the provision from the Constitution which states that a citizen of Lithuania cannot hold citizenship of another country. According to Butkevicius, if the notion of citizenship is expanded, then regulating legal acts must be prepared in detail in order to prevent the possibility of abuse of the situation.

"Personally I support the idea of dual citizenship and the referendum, but laws must be drafted responsibly," said the prime minister.

The leader of the Liberal Movement, Eligijus Masiulis, has said that over 700,000 Lithuanians have emigrated since the restoration of independence, and an amendment of this sort would encourage them to remain patriotic. At present, those naturalising and acquiring citizenship in another country would automatically lose their Lithuanian citizenship. 

Latvia is the only Baltic country that formally permits dual citizenship, following a change in the law in 2013; Estonia still does not officially allow dual citizenship.