The Seimas is likely to override President Dalia Grybauskaitė's veto on amendments lowering the yes-vote threshold for a dual citizenship referendum, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament said on Tuesday.
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"It's likely that we'll reject (the veto) and we'll then put forward other proposals. We are yet to agree on what can possibly be done. The goal is to have dual citizenship, or not to deprive citizens of their (Lithuanian) citizenship if they have acquired citizenship of another country," Viktoras Pranckietis told reporters.

The parliament last spring changed the Law on Referendum to require fewer votes for amending Article 12 of Chapter 1 of the Constitution, which speaks about Lithuanian citizenship, than for amending other articles of that chapter.

Grybauskaitė, however, sent the amendments back the Seimas for reconsideration, saying that they might run counter to the Constitution.

Currently, more than half of all citizens having the right of vote must say "yes" in a referendum to amend any article of Chapter 1. Under the amended law, amending Article 12 requires approval of more than 50 percent of all voters who turn out for the referendum, but no fewer than a third of all citizens with the right to vote.

Currently, people who left Lithuania after it regained independence on March 11, 1990 cannot hold dual citizenship, apart from a few exceptions. That provision can only be amended by referendum.

Pranckietis also plans to propose during the fall session, which is starting next week, that the Seimas pass legislation to allow voters to decide next year whether to reduce the number of seats in the parliament to 121, from the current 141 seats

The speaker believes that voters could be asked to vote on this issue in the same referendum on dual citizenship.

"Yes, I'll definitely (submit the draft amendment)," Pranckietis said.

"As you know, a draft amendment on cutting the number of lawmakers to 101 has been tabled to the Seimas, but nobody speaks about it now. I think people themselves could decide," he said.

Constitutional amendments aimed at cutting the number of seats in the Seimas from 141 to 101 and moving the date of general elections from October to March last January passed the first reading in the Seimas.

The amendments were supported by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Union of Christian Families and a part of Liberal Movement MPs. Members of all other political groups, except for some individual lawmakers, voted against or sustained.

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