Tony G, the player who once ran riot at the poker tables with his kamikaze moves and cutting jibes, has recently been dealt a blow by the Lithuanian government.
Since largely leaving poker behind for a career in politics, G (whose real name is Antanas Guoga) has won almost as many fans in his native Lithuania as he did in the poker world. Campaigning from a liberal standpoint, G was elected to represent Lithuania in the European Parliament in 2014. Since that time, he’s become a popular political figure in his country.
Continuing a trend he started in the poker world (see the infamous Tony G vs. Ralph Perry hand below), G has been very outspoken on Lithuania’s relationship with Russia.
Stating back in 2014 that the Lithuania should be proud of its resources and not “beg” Russia to buy its products at low prices, G cast himself as something of a national hero. In fact, this stance, and many more like it, has won the brash player a lot of respect from Lithuanians over the last 12 months.
Wanting to parlay this popularity into something more substantial on a national level, Guoga recently applied for consideration to have a seat in the Lithuanian government. However, despite his popularity with the electorate (and the poker community), his application has been refused.
Although he was born in Lithuania and was raised there until the age of 11, Guoga’s parents later emigrated to Australia and he was subsequently given dual citizenship for both countries.
Up until now his status as a citizen of two counties wasn’t an issue. But according to Lithuania’s political laws, no person of dual nationality can hold a seat in the country’s government.
In a report by the Lithuania Tribune, it states the country’s election policy is that any prospective candidates much relinquish all other citizenships if they wish to be considered for a seat in government.
This rule means that Guoga is ineligible to contend as candidate in the forthcoming election, despite already representing his birthplace in the European Parliament.
Naturally upset by the decision, Guoga criticized the decision and suggested that it is because of antiquated laws like these that Lithuania is struggling to attract back those who have since emigrated to countries with better economic prospects.
“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,” said G.
As yet, Guoga hasn’t said whether he plans to challenge the ruling or renounce his Australian citizenship in order to move forward with his election plans.