Roberto Corrales 0

Say NO to Spanish Law Against Basques´ Political Parties

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In the regional elections held on March 1 in the south-west Basque region (Bascongadas), the Spanish state banned left-wing Basque nationalist parties from taking part. Combined with an alliance between rival Spanish chauvinist parties, the result was that for the first time since limited autonomy was granted to the region in 1979, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) has lost control of the Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community. The Basque Country (Euskal Herria) straddles the Spanish and French borders. The majority of the 3 million Basques live within the Spanish state. The Basque people have waged a long struggle for self-determination from Spanish rule. The Bascongadas regional elections (comprising the Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Araba regions) disenfranchised about 15-20 % of citizens by banning political parties Spanish authorities claimed were linked to either the armed nationalist group ETA, or Batasuna — the pro-independence political party outlawed in 2003. The PNV won the highest number of votes, but failed to win an outright majority in the 75-seat parliament. The two main Spanish parties, the local section of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (the PSE) and the right-wing Popular Party (PP), who between them took 38 seats, struck a deal on April 1 to form a coalition government on the basis of opposition to Basque self determination. In the lead-up to the poll, the Spanish judiciary increased its repression of the pro-independence movement. The Supreme Court banned two more parties — Democracy 3 Million and Askatasuna (Freedom) — from standing candidates. The left-nationalists, who generally poll 15-20%, were entirely excluded. They have no representatives in the new parliament. The left-nationalists responded by printing and distributing illegal ballots, with which more than 100,000 people voted. Including these ballots, a majority of voters (around 640,000) backed pro-self determination parties. The PSE and PP won 482,000 votes combined. The pro-Spanish parties, bitter rivals in Madrid, agreed to make PSE leader Patxi Lopez regional government president in return for the PP taking the presidency of the Basque parliament


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