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Lithuania’s referendum on dual citizenship failed

Dalia Henke

On 12 May, together with the Presidential elections, Lithuania held two referendums, on the possibility of Lithuanians to have double citizenship, and an advisory referendum on reducing the number of parliament members.

The present Constitution of Lithuania allows just one nationally – Lithuanian; it is not possible to have two nationalities, or more, as allowed in many countries worldwide. 

What are the results?

Both referendums failed. A referendum is valid if more than half of the 2,472,000 registered voters took part in it. Almost 74% who cast a ballot were positive about the double nationality, and over 76% for reducing the number of MPs. However both referendums failed to meet the threshold of half registered voters to cast a ballot. 947,460 voted in the referendum on dual citizenship, and 870,327 on reducing the number of MPs.  

According to Dalia Henke, the Chairwoman of Lithuanian World Community, the dual citizenship referendum question should have been simpler for everyone to understand, since the actual wording in the ballot paper was in very difficult legal jargon. Ramunas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union and one of the initiators of the dual citizenship referendum, said a new referendum should be held by lowering the mandatory threshold of 50% +1.

Dalia Henke was of the opinion that a new referendum on the issue should be held.

“Only through discussions we can prepare for the next step and hold a new referendum in the future or look for some other ways…. The resolution of the issue of dual citizenship should continue. I hope this issue to be one of the first on the agenda of the future president”, she said.
According to public relations nerds, the major mistake was the low visibility of the referendum on dual nationality, there had been few debates and little information in the media. Although those most interested in the referendum are living abroad, not many made the effort to vote. Up to now the many Lithuanians who have acquired nationalities of other countries have lost Lithuanian nationality.

Gitanas Nauseda, one of the leading candidates for post of the President of Lithuania, said that he voted for the dual nationality, but against reducing the number of MPs. He explained that voted for the dual citizenship because he believed that many Lithuanians living abroad would like to remain its nationals, to work for the country, and to be its “ambassadors”.

He also said he voted against reducing the number of parliament members, as he thought it was not the number but the quality of work to define the value of the parliament.

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