Government set to outlaw radical Basque party

11th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Move comes after group fails to condemn recent ETA murders.

11 December 2007

MADRID - The government is planning to outlaw a radical Basque party in the wake of the December 1 murder by ETA of two Spanish Civil Guard officers in southwestern France, official sources have disclosed.

The acknowledgement that the Socialist administration of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will move to outlaw Basque Nationalist Action (ANV), a radical party that gained prominence in local elections earlier this year, comes after repeated claims by government officials that they are waiting to obtain more evidence before initiating legal proceedings. The necessary evidence is expected to be contained in a new police report on ANV's activities that is due to be handed to the government and prosecutors over the coming weeks.

Zapatero and other officials, including Socialist Party secretary José Blanco, have recently suggested that ANV's refusal to condemn the shooting of Civil Guard officers Raúl Centeno and Fernando Trapero on 1 December has brought it a step closer to being taken to court to face charges of violating the 2002 Political Parties Law. That legislation, which allows courts to outlaw parties for links to terrorism, was used in 2003 to illegalise ETA's political wing Batasuna.

With judicial investigations into ANV already underway, it is possible that the government could seek a court order suspending ANV from carrying out any political activities ahead of the general election in March. That, in turn, would be a first step toward outlawing the party, which won the support of separatist voters in local elections in the Basque Country and Navarre in May.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ ERNESTO EKAIZER 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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