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Parliament votes down bill barring Polish Card holders from running for office

Lenko korta
wikimedia.org nuotr. / The Polish Card
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania's parliament voted down the amendments proposed by a group of MPs to bar citizens holding Polish Cards from running for the Seimas.

The amendment was backed by 27 parliamentarians, eight were against and 20 abstained on Thursday. The draft was returned for improvement.

According to the proposed amendment, "a Lithuanian citizen holding a document of a foreign country that has been issued in line with the country's laws and that provides him or her with certain political, social, economic and/or cultural rights in the country of issue, and if issuing and holding of such document is linked with commitments of the holder to the interests of the foreign country, cannot be elected to the Seimas."

Authors of the draft made no secret that the amendment was mainly targeted at holders of the Polish Card issued by the neighboring Poland. The Polish Card is issued to those who declare in writing their will to pertain to the Polish nation and who can prove that at least one of their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were of Polish origin or held Polish citizenship.

People holding the card can receive long-term visas free of charge, get legal employment in Poland, carry out economic activities under the same conditions as Polish citizens, are entitled to free education, emergency medical assistance, 37 percent discount for railway tickets, free access to state museums and priority right in applications for financial assistance from the Polish state and municipal budgets for supporting Poles living abroad.

MP Gintaras Songaila said in the presentation of the bill that an oath to Lithuania was inconsistent with loyalty requirements to holders of the Polish Card not to harm the interests of the Polish nation and state.

According to statistics, Polish Cards are issued to over 1,000 Lithuanian citizens of Polish origin every year. Poland's Embassy in Vilnius told BNS that documents were issued to 1,024 people in 2011 and 1,197 in 2010. A total of more than 4,000 documents have been granted so far.

BNS
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