Basque leader expresses "contempt" for terrorists

3rd December 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2007, BILBAO - The newly elected head of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Iñigo Urkullu, has sought to strike a balance between regional premier Juan José Ibarretxe's independence-seeking views and his party's most moderate wing.

3 December 2007

BILBAO - The newly elected head of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Iñigo Urkullu, has sought to strike a balance between regional premier Juan José Ibarretxe's independence-seeking views and his party's most moderate wing.

"The right to decide has its place in the Constitution," he said in an oblique reference to the controversial decision by Basque premier Ibarretxe to hold a referendum on independence from Spain, a move that many in Madrid view as unconstitutional.

The referendum itself was never specifically mentioned by Urkullu in a speech to PNV members on Saturday. Besides self-determination, Urkullu also tiptoed around issues such as peace in a region affected by ETA's terrorist violence, underscoring the lack of agreement existing within the PNV.

All in all, the new leader's speech went down well with the  moderate wing of the party, with representatives of that faction saying they felt "relieved."

"For ETA, there is nothing but contempt," added Urkullu in the only improvised moment in his entire speech. His party, he said, will not be part of any dialogue with the terrorist group unless the Basque and Spanish parliaments support it and only after ETA offers "a definitive commitment to lay down its weapons."

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ ISABEL C. MARTÍNEZ 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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