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2019.05.20 14:40

Volunteer soldiers should choose between military service and elected office, Lithuania's Defence Ministry says

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.05.20 14:40

Volunteer soldiers should be allowed to stand for election, but in case of being elected, they should choose between military service and taking up the political post, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defence says.

The ministry has drafted a statement to be presented to the parliament, Seimas, which is deliberating a bill that would allow volunteer soldiers to stand for election to local councils.

The Defence Ministry says it supports the goal of the bill, which was proposed by the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, to protect volunteer soldiers “passive election right” to run for office.

However, the ministry and the military maintain that service in the National Defence Volunteer Forces constitutes real military service, therefore, allowing volunteer soldiers to sit in city councils or the parliament violates the Constitution.

Figures from the Defence Ministry show that over 5,000 people serve in the National Defence Volunteer Forces.