Proposed amendments to Latvia’s citizenship law, including lifting the restriction on allowing exiles to have dual citizenship, have been scratched by the Cabinet of Ministers, according to media reports.
After an Aug. 24 meeting with representatives of the ruling coalition’s political parties, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told journalists in Rīga that because of a lack of support the cabinet will not push the amendments any further.
One of the amendments would have automatically granted Latvian citizenship to newborn children even in cases where one of the parents was not a citizen.
Another amendment would have lifted the restriction on exile Latvians and their descendants seeking to renew citizenship. Until 1995, it was possible for exiles to register as Latvian citizens and still keep their other citizenship.
The conservative For Fatherland and Freedom (Tēvzemei un brīvībai, or TB/LNNK), one of parties in the coalition government, announced a week ago in a press release that it opposed the legislative package. TB/LNNK objected to the provision that would allow automatic Latvian citizenship for newborns. However, according to the TB/LNNK press release, the party did support letting exile Latvians become dual citizens.
In a related matter, a Latvian family in Germany is awaiting an Aug. 28 ruling by Latvia’s Supreme Court on whether they should be allowed to register as citizens without giving up their German citizenship. Baiba and Viktors Strunskis, along with their daughter Rauna sued over an Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (Pilsonības un migrācijas lietu pārvalde, or PMLP) decision that their Latvian passports, issued by Latvian consulates in exile before the country regained independence, are not proof of Latvian citizenship.
The Strunskis family has been told that in accordance with the current citizenship law, they will have to renounce their German citizenship before they may become Latvian citizens. The law no longer allows dual citizenship.
The family is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the PMLP decision.
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