Party linked to ETA help Ibarretxe back to power

23rd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

23 June 2005, VITORIA — Moderate nationalist Juan Jose Ibarretxe was re-elected president of the regional Basque government thanks to the partial support of a new party linked to the terrorist group ETA.

23 June 2005

VITORIA — Moderate nationalist Juan Jose Ibarretxe was re-elected president of the regional Basque government thanks to the partial support of a new party linked to the terrorist group ETA.

Ibarretxe won by a simple majority in a vote in the Basque regional legislature, after garnering the support of two of the new deputies from EHAK, a Basque Communist party said to be linked to the banned Batasuna group.

The partial EHAK support for Ibarretxe was announced on Wednesday by the spokesman for the party, Nekane Erauskin, during the first session of debate on the election of the regional president.

Ibarretxe was fighting against the Basque Socialist Party candidate Patxi Lopez for the post.

With the votes of the radical nationalists, Ibarretxe defeated Lopez by a vote of 34-33.

The EHAK spokesman said that the two deputies voted for  Ibarretxe would demonstrate once again "our positive and constructive attitude".

However, he also said that "these two votes do not mean we're giving our support to the said candidate (Ibarretxe), or our support to the government he would lead".

EHAK was an unknown group until the most recent elections in the Basque provinces, when it garnered a total of nine seats in the regional legislature.

Controversy surrounded the party after the outlawed Batasuna asked its supporters to vote for EHAK.

The leaders of EHAK denied any relationship with Batasuna, but they defended the same political positions as the banned party and did not condemn the violence perpetrated by ETA.

The terrorist group has killed more than 800 people over the last 35 years in its campaign to create a Basque nation from parts of northern Spain and south-western France.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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