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HomeLithuaniaDual citizenship campaigners in Lithuania face obstacles

Dual citizenship campaigners in Lithuania face obstacles

Public figures campaigning for dual citizenship in Lithuania say they have faced obstacles.

“Today, we were supposed to launch the campaign, and media outlets were supposed to air it, but now we are not sure whether information from our civic, public, independent, non-political initiative will be aired,” Marija Saraite, head of the 4 Million Lithuania initiative, told a press conference at the MO Museum Vilnius on Friday

“We have now been informed by media channels that they are discussing our videos with the Central Electoral Commission, and the possible conclusion is that this is agitation and citizens are forbidden to do so,” she said.

According to Saraite, the privately initiated and funded video and audio clips urging people to participate in the May 12 referendum on the legalization of dual citizenship and to vote in favor of it should have been aired on TV and radio and appear on news websites.

On Friday, the CEC confirmed to BNS it had received several inquiries from representatives of TV and radio stations as they had doubts whether or not the video and audio clips had features of political advertising.

“CEC lawyers have reviewed the above-mentioned clips and informed media outlets that they agitate to vote in favor of the dual citizenship referendum initiative, and the lawyers reminded them of the political advertising funding rules stating that any political advertising disseminated for remuneration must be clearly marked with a stated funding source,” Indre Ramanaviciene, spokeswoman for the CEC, told BNS.

Any remunerated political advertising related to a political campaign can only be paid for by a participant of the referendum political campaign. In this case, the initiators of the referendum are a group of members of the Seimas.

“It is also forbidden to finance political campaigns through third parties,” she reminded.

According to Saraite, this situation could make citizens afraid to express their position.

The referendum on the legalization of dual citizenship will take place on May 12, together with the first round of the presidential election.

Now, people who emigrated from Lithuania after the restoration of its independence on March 11, 1990 are not eligible for dual citizenship, with some exceptions.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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