Basques evenly split on independence plan

10th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 January 2005, MADRID- People in the Basque region of northern Spain are almost evenly divided on the merits of a mooted plan to achieve greater autonomy from Madrid via "free association" status.

10 January 2005

MADRID- People in the Basque region of northern Spain are almost evenly divided on the merits of a mooted plan to achieve greater autonomy from Madrid via "free association" status.

A poll carried out for the Spanish daily El Mundo by the Sigma Dos Institute showed 36 percent of the region's population of 2.1 million reject the plan being pushed by moderate nationalists in charge of the regional government.

But 34.2 percent of those polled were in favour.

The poll of 600 Basque residents also showed that a majority of those questioned believed there was more chance of ending attacks by armed separatist group ETA in the region if the plan did come to fruition.

Last month the Basque regional parliament narrowly voted in favour of the plan drawn up by regional leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe, a moderate nationalist, and a regional referendum is scheduled for later in the year.

If that vote backs the plan the Basque government would then submit the proposal to the national parliament in Madrid, where mainstream parties virulently oppose a project which they see as a threat to national unity.

Another poll of 1,350 people by the Opina Institute carried out for the Cadena Ser radio station showed 42.3 percent opposition and 39 percent in favour.

The surveys respectively had a three and four percent margin of error.

Opposition to the plan across Spain as a whole is running at around 75 percent, latest polls indicate.

The Basque parliament vote was just carried after parliamentary deputies from ETA's political wing decided to back the plan after initially opposing it.

Whereas polls show most Basques do not see the plan as having been tainted by such backing, national polls across Spain show that three fifths of Spaniards disagree.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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