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Latvia’s opposition seeks reconsideration of dual citizenship bill

May 14, 2013, 17:41 UTC+3

The bill allows Latvians to have dual citizenship in some countries, and Russia is not included in this list

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RIGA, May 14 (Itar-Tass) - Latvia’s largest opposition alliance Concord Centre representing interests of Russian-speaking residents in the Baltic state has addressed President Andris Berzins with a request to return to the parliament a bill on dual citizenship for reconsideration, the alliance’s press service said on Tuesday.

The bill allows Latvians to have dual citizenship in some countries. Russia is not included in this list.

The opposition believes that the document “sorts out and discriminates the country’s citizens.”

“Thus, a Latvian citizen leaving for the UK in search of a job and wishing to get that country’s citizenship finds himself in a more advantageous situation than a Latvian citizen searching a job in Russia and wishing to get Russian citizenship,” the press service said.

The list of countries, where Latvians are permitted to have dual citizenship, include member-states of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, NATO as well as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and countries, which signed treaties on dual citizenship with Latvia.

Russia, other CIS member-states and Israel are not included in this list.

The Russian-speaking opposition believes that while introducing additional restrictions on naturalization (the acquisition of citizenship by passing exams on the Latvian language and history) the bill is targeted at strengthening the split in the society.

Along with this the Concord Centre positively assesses amendments simplifying the acquisition of citizenship by children of non-citizens. Under the bill children can be easily be granted citizenship at the request of a parent. Moreover, birth and citizenship certificates for children can be granted simultaneously.

Last week the parliament of the Baltic state for the first time in 15 years adopted in the final reading amendments to the citizenship law by the majority of votes. The amendments were initiated by ex-president Valdis Zatlers in 2011.

The bill will enter into force after it is signed into law by the president.


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