PBLA: Say ‘no’ to ban on dual citizens in high office

The World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA), in its annual meeting this week in Rīga, has renewed a call for Latvia’s parliament to reject a bill that would bar dual citizens from holding certain high government offices. Bill 832, proposed this summer by members of Tautas partija (People’s Party), on Sept. 30 survived its first reading.

Titled “Par ierobežojumiem personām ar dubulto pilsonību ieņemt augstākos valsts amatus,” the proposed legislation would bar dual citizens from serving in 23 categories of high government offices, including as members of parliament, as head of the Bank of Latvia, as ambassadors and as members of the National Radio and Television Council.

The legislation is counter to the Latvian government’s recent efforts to work closer with Latvians abroad, Jānis Kukainis, head of the PBLA, said during the annual meeting, according to the LETA news agency.

The federation is known in Latvian as Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība, or PBLA.

The legislation has been viewed by some critics as an effort by Tautas partija to prevent certain politicians who are dual citizens from getting more power.

Under the Latvian constitution, currently only the president is not allowed to be a dual citizen. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga had to renounce her Canadian citizenship so she could become president in 1999.

If enacted, the ban on dual citizens in high office would take effect July 1, 2005.

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

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