Lack of political support kills citizenship changes, premier says

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.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

4 thoughts on “Lack of political support kills citizenship changes, premier says

  1. Again and AGAIN Latvian political class proves its shortsightendness and provincialism… Latvia is already 5. years members of the EU, but its present governors totally lack values that most of the member countries take as granted. Again and AGAIN shortsighted TB/LNNK fails to understand the difference between citizenship and political rights. I just can barely imagine someone born in Irish, British, german, Swedish, American or Canadian mixed families opting Latvian citizenship first policy. TB/LNNK policy makers say that they understand something about demographics – huh, uhhh boors… VERY SAD INDEED:)

  2. Some of us for various reasons, it was my job at the time, missed the 1995 date. An arbitrary date like that discriminates between those that were able to do it then and those who could not. Thete is no differenate. Very narrow minded policy.

  3. Idiotic decision.There are already severe restrictions. My mother was born during the right timelines, AND she is a latvian citizen. Simply because I was not registered before 1995, I can’t get citizenship? This is ridiculously idiotic. I guess Latvia doesnt want the money I would bring if I was a citizen. Morons.

  4. Citizens and former countrymen, How else can Russian, former communist officials(Latvians included) maintain there political positions? As long as new rules are put into place were it becomes more difficult for one to aquire or show proof of citizenship then there is more power to the goverment officials who hold power and who (earn?) their pay. For the rules to sway in favor of former citizens (refugees) as well as any newcommers of a Latvian family would jepordize the political power of the top political holding people. One has to remember that after WW2 Russians and other newcommers in the Baltic States were automaticaly considerd as citizens of Russia since in Moscows eyes the Baltic States did not exist. Now for the new wave of events to accure which could jepordize former communist officials (titled democratic people) would erase their pay and Moscows grip on our land.

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