Constitutional court should change position on dual citizenship, expat Lithuanian leader says

Dalia Henke, the chair of the Lithuanian World Community, has proposed making dual citizenship available to more people, even though a referendum on the issue failed earlier this year.

The referendum in May on changing the Constitution did not garner enough votes, but almost a million people supported expanding dual citizenship, which represents “a strong mandate” for the president, parliament members and the Constitutional Court to change the regulation.

Under the current law, dual citizenship is only allowed under a limited set of circumstances. The Constitutional Court has ruled several times that changing the regulation requires amending an article in the Constitution which can only be changed through a referendum.

Henke, however, believes that an appeal can be brought to the Constitutional Court and it can change its position due to different circumstances.

“Cases in Europe show that the Constitutional Court’s rulings can be changed in response to changed conditions. We no longer live in 1992, we are a country that is losing a lot of its citizens, and speaking of Brexit, when Lithuanian citizens living there [in the UK] have to make their decision, the Constitutional Court needs to react to those changed conditions,” Henke told BNS on Monday.

Meanwhile MP Žygimantas Pavilionis, of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, says that another referendum is the only way to change the law, while dealing with the issue through the Constitutional Court is doomed to failure again.

“We tried to resolve the citizenship issue in the Seimas and the Constitutional Court said very clearly ‘no’ three times. I was an enthusiast of that solution [expanding dual citizenship without a referendum], and didn’t want the referendum. And from all my experience, I suggest against going into the same river for the fourth time, because it just won’t be successful,” he said.


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