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Friday 15.02.2019 | Name days: Olafs, Aloizs, Alvils, Olavs

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian politicians clash in Constitution Court over dual citizenship plebiscite

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPoliticians representing the ruling majority and the opposition in the Lithuanian parliament have presented their different positions to the Constitutional Court this week on whether a dual citizenship referendum should be held on two days two weeks apart.

Stasys Šedbaras, representing the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, and Social Democrat Julius Sabatauskas told the court a referendum held on two separate days would give citizens unequal rights, and also the principle of continuity would be violated. Meanwhile, Agnė Širinskienė, chair of the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, underlined that the Constitution does not say how much time a referendum should take place. In October, the Seimas adopted a resolution on calling a mandatory referendum on expanding dual citizenship on May 12 and 26. But the resolution’s coming into force was halted until the Constitutional Court’s ruling which is due on February 28 at the latest.

Flu epidemic declared in 14 municipalities

An influenza epidemic has already been declared in 14 out of Lithuania’s 60 municipalities as in the number of flu and acute upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) cases continues to rise in the country.  Lithuania’s overall flu and acute upper respiratory tract infection (URI) incidence rate reached 155.2 per 10,000 inhabitants on January 21 to 27, up from 127.7 a week ago.

CEC published lists of municipal election candidates

Lithuania’s Central Electoral Commission on Friday, December 1, published the lists of candidates for the upcoming municipal election and direct mayoral election. All in all, political parties and election committees are putting over 460 lists of candidates for election in 60 municipalities in Lithuania. Around 13,700 candidates will run for local councils and over 400 politicians will run for mayors. Lithuania will hold municipal and direct mayoral elections on March 3.

CEC removes 290 candidates from election lists

Lithuania’s Central Electoral Commission on Tuesday, January 29, removed another 290 politicians from the municipal election candidate lists due to withheld information about their prior convictions. Some candidates had indicated their prior convictions but provided wrong information on the specific charges, and others provided information on one crime but withheld information on another. Such persons have been allowed to update their applications as a candidate’s banner must only include the fact that they had been convicted.

Israeli PM heard «no» from Lithuanian PM

During his meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked permission to move the remains of the Vilnius Gaon, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, to Jerusalem but received a negative response, according to a source in the meeting.  Skvernelis’ spokesman refrained from any comment on the prime ministers’ close-door meeting. But several diplomatic sources have confirmed that several representatives of the Lithuanian government backed the position of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. The idea to move the remains of the Vilnius Gaon was first raised by Netanyahu during his visit to Lithuania last year.

Lithuanian fund to invest in hotel near Riga airport

Lithuania’s investment fund company I Asset Management (IAM) and the financial brokerage firm Orion Securities are planning to invest 14 million to 16 million euros in the construction of an economy class hotel near Riga Airport. Orion Securities said the project will be part of the investment portfolio of IAM’s Nordic Airport Hotels Fund, which is investing in new airport hotels in Europe. IAM CEO Ernestas Kazbaras said a plot of land for the Riga hotel has already been purchased and preparatory work is underway, with fund units to be issued soon. Construction of the Riga Airport hotel is planned to be launched this year and be completed in the first half of 2021.

PM picks environment minister

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has picked Vice Minister of Justice Irma Gudžiūnaitė, a member of the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania, as his environment minister. Gudžiūnaitė, 30, has been serving as a deputy minister of justice since June, and earlier served as the justice attaché at the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the European Union. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is expected to endorse the incoming environment minister upon the prime minister’s official nomination.

Lithuania to accept 5 refugees from NGO ship in Italy

Lithuania will accept five refugees from the Sea Watch ship which has been allowed to enter Italy after spending two weeks days in the sea, Lithuanian Minister of the Interior Eimutis Misiūnas said. Besides Italy, another seven countries agreed to accept 47 migrants from the Middle East who were stuck on the ship near Europe’s shore for two weeks. Lithuanian plans to send its specialists to Italy shortly to carry out security checks for the incoming migrants.

Lithuanians lack info on dual citizenship referendum

Lithuanians, both in Lithuania and abroad, lack information about what a dual citizenship referendum planned for May means, Dalia Henke, the leader of the Lithuanian World Community (LWC) said on Thursday, January 31. Henke noted the lack of a campaign to explain to voters what they will be asked to vote on, what changes are being sought and what problems emigrants are facing because of the dual citizenship restrictions. The LWC chairwoman said it is a pity that their organization, which is not the initiator of the referendum, does not have the right to launch a publicity campaign to raise public awareness of the plebiscite.

Lithuanian watchdog finds violations in 2 Russian TV channels’ reports

Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) said on Wednesday, January 30, it has established violations in news reports about Lithuanian partisans in two Russian-language TV channels, but cannot impose restrictions on their broadcasts in the country.  A report in the Vremya (Time) news program of Latvia-registered Pirmais Baltijas Kanals Lietuva about a commemoration of the Day of Freedom Fighters in the Seimas on January 13 contained «false, slanderous and war-inciting information about Lithuanian and Latvian partisans», it said in a press release. The watchdog has also established a violation, the second one in a year, by NTV Mir Lithuania, a Russian-language TV channel of the UK-registered broadcaster Baltic Media Alliance Ltd.

Lithuania introduces special rules for home births

Only low-risk expectant mothers will be able to give birth at home in Lithuania but will still need to submit an application with a medical establishment and sign a contract, the Ministry of Health says.  Under the new rules, a woman who wants to give birth at home will need to file an application with a medical establishment and then specialists will evaluate her health and the premises where she plans to give birth. The woman and the establishment will sign a contract under which the expectant mother will receive consultations before and after birth, assistance during birth and will be visited by an obstetrician after birth.

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