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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 21.08.2019, 10:43

Lithuania to hold May referendum on cutting number of MPs

BC, Vilnius, 14.02.2019.Print version
A referendum on reducing the number of lawmakers to 121 from the existing 141 will be held on May 12 alongside the presidential election in Lithuania, the country's parliament has decided after 58 lawmakers voted in favor on Thursday, 42 were against and two abstained, reported LETA/BNS.

The Seimas resolution on the referendum was adopted under a fast-track procedure, meaning the bill was put forward and adopted today.

The referendum had been initiated by almost 40 members of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union's political group in the Seimas.

Members of the opposition, who voted against, accuse the LFGU of using this initiate to increase voter turnout during the presidential run-off to ensure bigger support to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis who's running for president.

LFGU leader Ramunas Karbauskis, however, says the referendum proposal "is not the way of seeking election advantage but a commitment to voters to reduce the number of Seimas members."

The LFGU say the number of lawmakers needs to be cut taking into account the shrinking population in Lithuania, and also bureaucracy needs to be reduced and funds saved.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition say the number of lawmakers in Lithuania is optimal based on international practice.

The LFGU are also collecting 300,000 signatures, which is another way of holding a referendum.

Previously, the LFGU put forward constitutional amendments on reducing the number of Seimas members to 101 but the parliament failed to endorse this move.

Under the parliament's earlier decision, a referendum on dual citizenship will be held in Lithuania on May 12 and 26, alongside the first and second rounds of voting in the presidential election. But the Constitutional Court is yet to rule whether such a referendum can be held on two days two weeks apart.

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