Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday backed the idea to hold a referendum on dual citizenship, stressing the need for thorough preparation.
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"Lithuania is getting used to the referendum idea," the president told journalists in Pabradė, a town in eastern Lithuania, where she observed a military exercise.

According to the president, the referendum question must be cautiously formulated "for citizenship acquisition not to become a totally unregulated and uncontrolled process". Thorough preparation is needed as previous referenda involved "a lot of untruth, hidden information and manipulation," Grybauskaitė said.

In her words, dual citizenship must be allowed in view of massive emigration flows. "A large part of our nation has emigrated, and it would not be right to strip them of the right to remain Lithuanians, citizens of Lithuania," she said.

Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Loreta Graužinienė and Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Wednesday a referendum on dual citizenship could be held alongside the 2016 general elections.

Now in Lithuania, dual citizenship is only allowed for people who left the country during the occupation period, as well as their descendents. But it is not allowed for people who left after Lithuania restored independence.

The Constitutional Court of Lithuania has clarified that the liberalization of dual citizenship is only possible following the amendment of the Constitution by referendum. Under Lithuanian law, such amendments could be adopted if more than half of all voters backed them.

Liberalization supporters say the legalization of dual citizen is needed to help expatriates preserve ties with Lithuania.

Meanwhile critics claim citizens should be loyal to only one state. They also fear that representatives of ethnic minorities in Lithuania might seek foreign citizenship and Russia can take advantage of that.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją skelbti, cituoti ar kitaip atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB "BNS" sutikimo neleidžiama.

President signs 'spy swap' bill into law

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has signed into law a bill detailing the president's right to...

Remains of another partisan found in Vilnius

The remains of Lithuanian partisan Juozapas Streikus-Stumbras have been found at Orphans' Cemetery...

Vilnius politicians agree on demolition of kindergarten built on top of Great Synagogue

Vilnius Municipal Council last week deemed the kindergarten built on top of the remains of the...

Lithuania and Poland complete arrangements for state reburial of 1863 insurgents

Representatives of the Lithuanian and Polish government completed earlier this week the last...

Court extends ex-judge's arrest for 2 months

The Kaunas District Court extended on Friday the arrest warrant for Neringa Venckiene for two...