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2019.11.18 15:30

Social democrats oppose Lithuanian expat constituency as unconstitutional

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.11.18 15:30

The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania (LSDP) has appealed the decision to establish a separate election constituency for Lithuanians living abroad.

The Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, has decided to establish a separate constituency in the 2020 general election if more than 31,000 - 32,000 expats cast their ballots in all Lithuanian embassies.

The CEC made the decision taking into consideration high voter turnout in the recent EP and presidential election when almost 35,000 and 40,000 of Lithuanian living abroad voted in the respective elections.

The social democrats say the general election should be considered "the latest election," and over 16,000 Lithuanians living abroad voted in its first round in 2016.The party turned to Vilnius Regional Administrative Court against the decision made in October.

"Under the Constitution and law, all constituencies must have boundaries, and this constituency has neither boundaries […] nor a defined number of voters," Gintautas Paluckas, the LSDP leader, told BNS on Monday.

Dalia Henke, chair of the Lithuanian World Community, says the social democrats' complaint showed the state's strange attitude towards Lithuanians living abroad.

"It's a strange attitude and it shows that the state has no plan on how to work with the diaspora," she told BNS Lithuania. "Citizens living abroad are still being rejected and not involved in the development and plans of the state."

Lithuania will elect a new parliament in October 2020.