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Lithuania's president signs new referendum law allowing more polling places abroad

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has signed the new version of the Law on Referendum, defining referendum organization procedures and allowing more polling places abroad, into law, the presidential press service said on Thursday.

The Lithuanian parliament adopted the bill last week.

Most of the amendments are aimed at adjusting referendum organization procedures to general procedures for elections. The key change is that the new law allows polling stations to be set up in foreign countries in addition to the existing ones at diplomatic representations. 

Decisions on additional polling stations for a referendum will be made by the Foreign Ministry and will have to be approved by the Central Electoral Commission. 

Lithuania plans to hold a dual citizenship referendum on May 12 and May 26, 2019, in tandem with the first and second rounds of voting in the next presidential election.

The Seimas has suspended its resolution on announcing the referendum until the Constitutional Court rules whether holding a referendum on two days with a gap of two weeks between them is in line with the Constitution. 

Currently, people who left Lithuania after it regained independence in 1990 cannot hold dual citizenship, apart from a few exceptions. That provision can only be amended by referendum.

Advocates of dual citizenship fear that such a referendum might fail due to low turnout.

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