Descendants of World War II refugees from Latvia could become dual citizens of their ancestral homeland under amendments proposed Jan. 24 by five members of the nationalist bloc in the Saeima.
This is the second attempt in the past several months to alter Latvia’s citizenship law, and apparently gets the jump on a plan by the government to propose its own amendments.
The amendments, proposed by MPs from the National Association (Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK”), also would allow dual citizenship for citizens of European Union countries, Switzerland, Australia and Brazil, as well as of NATO defense alliance members, which would include Canada and the United States.
The amendments to Latvia’s citizenship law were introduced by Einārs Cilinskis, Imants Parādnieks, Dzintars Rasnačs, Visvaldis Lācis and Inese—all members of the National Association (Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK”).
The amendments also would allow dual citizenship for children of whom at least one natural or adoptive parent is a Latvian citizen.
Allowing dual citizenship would foster people’s connection to their homeland, according to an explanatory note submitted with the proposed amendments. Few European countries, the note continues, today do not allow dual citizenship.
In October during the closing weeks of the 9th Saeima, members of the Unity (Vienotība) bloc also proposed a bill that would have allowed dual citizenship. That legislation, however, failed to get a hearing.
For exile organizations such as the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība) changing the law to allow dual citizenship has become a key issue. Until July 1995, exiles and their descendants were able to register as Latvian citizens without having to give up the citizenship of their adopted country. However, since July 1995 dual citizenship has not been allowed.
The new coalition government led by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis included in its declaration a promise to change the citizenship law to allow dual citizenship.
Foreign Minster Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, during a Jan. 6 press conference in Rīga, said the government has been working on legislation that would soon be submitted to the Saeima.
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