Nationalists could lose in Spain's Basque country: poll

23rd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The PNV could risk lose power in the upcoming regional elections, according to telephone polls.

MADRID – The moderate nationalist Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) could lose its nearly 30-year hold on power in Spain's Basque region in upcoming regional elections despite expected gains, polls showed Sunday.

The party should increase its representation to 27-30 seats in the 75-seat Basque regional assembly, from the 22 it currently has, according to polls published in daily newspapers El Pais, El Mundo, La Vanguardia and ABC.

But its centre-left coalition partner Eusko Alkartasuna will likely slip to three seats or less, down from seven, the telephone polls of between 770 and 1,200 people found.

The Socialists, which rule at the national level in Spain and which did well in the Basque region in the March 2008 general election, look set to win 22-26 seats, up from 18, the surveys showed.

The party could then hope to form a coalition with the conservative Popular Party (PP) which according to the polls would get 10-14 seats, down from 15 in the outgoing assembly, or with the PNV itself.

"The Basque Socialist Party will have the key to power," top-selling daily newspaper El Pais said in its headline.

The president of the regional Basque government, Juan Jose Ibarretxe whose PNV has been in power since 1980, largely in coalition with other smaller parties, warned Sunday that gains by the Socialists would mean a loss of sovereignty for the Basque region.

"In these elections what is at stake is, if things relating to here are decided here, amongst all of us, or if they are decided" in Madrid, he said during a campaign stop in Getxo, a wealthy suburb of Bilbao.

Regional elections will also be held on Saturday in Spain's northwestern Galicia region.

The PP will capture 36-38 seats in that region's 75-seat assembly, according to two polls published Sunday in centre-right newspapers ABC and El Mundo. It currently has 37 seats.

But polls published in El Pais and La Vanguardia suggested the PP might lose ground, which would allow the Socialists and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), a coalition of political parties, to remain in power in the region.

The Socialists should win 25-27 seats in the Galician regional assembly while the BNG will get 12-14 seats, according to the poll published in El Pais.

The Socialists currently have 25 seats and the BNG 13.

AFP / Expatica

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