ETA slams Basque elections as anti-democratic

27th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Basque separatist group ETA says the upcoming elections are “anti-democratic” and call on its supporters to return blank ballots.

MADRID – The armed Basque separatist group ETA on Friday slammed upcoming elections in the region as "anti-democratic" and called on its supporters to return blank ballots.

The regional parliament that will result from these "anti-democratic elections" will be a "fascist parliament," said ETA in a statement released by the pro-independence Basque newspaper Gara.

"For those in favour of independence, of sovereignty, the only vote is blank," it said.

The group also denounced the "apartheid policy" in Spain's northern Basque Country, where pro-independence parties are banned from Sunday's regional election due to their links to ETA and its outlawed political wing Batasuna.

Radical Basque separatist parties draw support from approximately 10 percent of Spain's Basque voters.

ETA has been blamed for the deaths of 825 people in a four-decade campaign for an independent Basque homeland straddling northern Spain and part of southwestern France.

Early in February, it staged its first attack in the Spanish capital since December 2006, setting off a van packed with explosives in a business district. The blast caused extensive damage but no injuries.

Last week, another ETA bomb exploded outside the headquarters of the Basque Socialist Party in the town of Lazkao, causing major damage but no injuries.

The bombings raised fears that the regional elections could be marred by further ETA attacks.

Around 1.78 million people are eligible to vote in Sunday's elections to the 75-seat regional parliament.

Polls show the moderate centre-right Basque Nationalist Party is at risk of losing its nearly 30-year hold on power in the region to the Basque Socialist Party.

AFP / Expatica

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