Citizenship revocation for naturalized 'traitors' considered

Latvia may need to introduce the right to withdraw citizenship from people who have acquired citizenship through naturalization, but who can be considered traitors due to actions after naturalization, Prime Minister Evika Siliņa (New Unity) said in a briefing on Monday while indicating that discussions on a specific solution will continue.

New Unity (JV)  has prepared amendments to the Citizenship Law, which would allow the revocation of Latvian citizenship from citizens of the former USSR who have violated the promise made during naturalization or acquisition of Latvian citizenship and have taken action against the democratic state enshrined in the Constitution.

Asked in more detail about the purpose of such an initiative, the Prime Minister explained that people who have turned against their country should be held accountable.

Siliņa explained that New Unity has not yet formally submitted amendments, but has developed a possible solution, which will still be discussed with coalition partners.

Representatives of the coalition partners – the Greens and Farmers Union, and the Progressives – said they understand the issue and will discuss it while refraining from commenting on the proposal at present.

In order to become a Latvian citizen by naturalization, a person must confirm their basic proficiency in the Latvian language, as well as successfully pass an examination of the basic provisions of the constitution, the text of the national anthem and knowledge of Latvian history.

Citizenship can also be bestowed by special ruling of the Saeima for "special merit", which sidesteps the requirements for the language and other tests. However, this is a fairly rare occurence.

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