A Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, Antanas Guoga, who has Australian citizenship, has recently discovered that Lithuanian laws do not allow foreign citizens to run in parliamentary elections. Guoga was planning to be a candidate of the Liberal Movement party in Vilkaviškis single-member constituency and challenge the incumbent Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius in 2016.
Antanas Guoga
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

The leader of the Liberal Movement, Eligijus Masiulis, said: “I could not say that this is it – Antanas will not run in parliamentary elections. We will talk to him and do everything that is needed. There can be various solutions.”

Zenonas Vaigauskas, the head of the Central Electoral Commission, explained: “When we elect our political leaders, the Constitutional Court's ruling of 1998 is in force, according to which only Lithuanian citizens can participate in the elections. This ruling does not apply to the European Parliament and municipal elections, except for mayoral posts.”

The Lithuanian Constitution says that in order to run for parliament, a candidate must not be bound by any oaths or commitments to a foreign state. The Constitutional Court's ruling in question interpreted the provision as meaning that holders of foreign passports were disqualified.

Mr. Guoga says he is prepared to renounce Australian citizenship, but adds that such a decision would disadvantage his two under-aged daughters from his earlier marriage. His daughters live in Australia with their mother who does not hold Australian citizenship.

Mr.Guoga said: “I really do not need that citizenship and I will solve this problem eventually.”

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