Up to now, one could become a member of a Lithuanian political party if they are 18 years old and EU member state citizens, who have obtained a permanent residence permit and have lived in the country for 5 uninterrupted years, a ministry press release states.
With the amendments being passed, Lithuanian political party membership will be now available for at least 18 year old EU member state citizens, who legally arrived in Lithuania and stayed for longer than 6 months, who are not members of other countries' parties or political organisations, bar membership in European political parties.
"It is crucial that EU member state citizens living in our country would have the same rights as Lithuanian citizens. Thus, with the passing of these amendments, EU member state citizens will be easier able to become political party members," Minister of Justice Elvinas Jankevičius states.
According to the Ministry of Justice, currently Lithuanian political parties have 4 members from EU member states (out of a total 120 thousand political party members).
At the start of last year, the European Commission charged Lithuania with forming equal conditions for EU member state citizens, who are not citizens of their country of residence to be granted equal conditions, but have been legally granted residence rights in the state's territory, to participate in the activities of political parties as well as European Parliament and local municipal elections.