(VILNIUS) – Antanas Guoga is a European Union MP but his Australian citizenship stops him from running for the parliament of his birthplace, Lithuania.
The successful businessman and former champion poker player, who is popularly known as Tony G, migrated to Melbourne as a child in the 1980s.
Guoga graduated in Australia in accounting and finance and returned to Lithuania after the Baltic nation won its independence from the USSR.
He has become a mini mogul in Lithuania, owning an international betting company, a resort and recently buying a top basketball team in a country which worships the sport.
Guoga was elected to the EU Parliament in 2013, but the Lithuanian Central Election Commission thwarted his bid to run for office in Lithuania because of his Australian citizenship.
“Dual citizenship is no obstacle to representing Lithuania in the European Parliament … Why should it be an obstacle to being a member of the (Lithuanian Parliament),” he told the Lithuanian media.
“We will not build a greater Lithuania and we will not bring Lithuanians back from around the world if we don’t adapt our legal system to today’s realities.”
Guoga still has family links to Melbourne and visits here.
Last year, he made an audacious bid to head the controversial United Kingdom Independence Party which campaigned for a yes vote in the Brexit referendum.
The bid to replace outgoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage was considered a stunt as Guoga is passionately pro-European Union.