Diplomacy Elections Lithuania

Lithuanians to vote on joint foreign citizenships next month

| 2024-04-22 2 min read

Lithuanians to vote on joint foreign citizenships next month

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Lithuania will hold a constitutional referendum on whether its citizens can hold dual and multiple citizenships on 12 May 2024, in tandem with the first round of its presidential elections.

Dual citizenship is mostly banned and around one thousand Lithuanian citizens annually give up their citizenship each year to take another one. Of the 27 EU countries, only 5 do not allow citizens to also hold citizenship of another country. Of these, four are in Central and Eastern Europe: Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, and Austria, as well as the Netherlands.

Some 600,000 people of Lithuanian descent live in the US, and the diaspora is also significant in the UK, Brazil, Russia and Canada. Dual citizenship would not create any additional privileges as both taxes and social benefits are dependent on country of residency.

Nauseda clear in recent poll

Incumbent head of state Gitanas Nauseda is the runaway favourite to win in next month’s other ballot, against seven opponents including Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, whom he beat in the last presidential election runoff in 2019.

Former Lithuanian Bar Association chairman Ignas Vegele is standing as an anti-establishment candidate. Other hopefuls include former NATO deputy secretary general Giedrimas Jeglinskas, and Freedom Party candidate Zalimas, who have both backed a “Yes” vote since last May when Lithuania’s 111 MPs unanimously voted for the referendum to be held.

Earlier this month pollster Vilmorus put Nauseda’s support at 40.2%, streets ahead of Vegele (10.6%), and Simonyte (8.9%). Controversial right-wing solo MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis polled 5.1%, while Labour Party leader Andrius Mazuronis had the backing of 2.2% of voters. Freedom Party candidate Zalimas and doctor Eduardas Vaitkus both polled 2%, and Jeglinskas 1.3%.

Threshold should be met this time, after failed vote in 2019

A referendum on multiple citizenships was held in 2019, but failed due to turnout being below 50% of registered voters, despite 74% voting in favour of allowing multiple citizenships.

Failing to meet the 50% turnout threshold seems unlikely next month. Of those surveyed by Vilmorus, only 6.5% did not plan to vote while 15.2% were undecided on whether they will cast their ballot.