Basque leader urges talks to end ETA terrorism
16 March 2004, BILBAO – The head of the Basque regional parliament said Tuesday the election victory of the Socialists was a "historic chance for change".
16 March 2004
BILBAO – The head of the Basque regional parliament said Tuesday the election victory of the Socialists was a "historic chance for change".
Juan José Ibarretxe said the shock defeat of the conservative Popular Party by the Socialists in the general election Sunday gave Spain a chance to "finish with violence and to look for solutions between the governments of the Basque Country and Spain".
Ibarretxe last year launched a plan for greater devolution for the Basque Country from Spain which could see it assume representation at the EU and run its own schools and courts.
He claimed it would end more than 30 years of ETA terrorist attacks.
The plan was rejected by former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's government, which threatened to jail Ibarretxe if he held a referendum on the subject.
The Basque leader said the election of Socialist leader José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as prime minister meant the country was looking for "the concept of dialogue"
Ibarretxe said: "Dialogue and not war is what is needed to fight against terrorism in the world."
The move came as Zapatero said Tuesday he planned to talk with regional parties to form possible alliances.
The Socialists did not win an absolute majority and may depend on regional parties to win some votes in parliament.
Regional issues will be an important theme as the new Socialist government takes power.
In the Basque Country and Catalonia as well as other parts there are demands for more devolution of power.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news