Top Spanish court bars new Basque party

23rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's top court on Wednesday rejected an application by a new Basque pro-independence group to form a political party so that it can stand in local elections in May.

The Supreme Court "is opposed to the inscription of Sortu as a political party," reads the decision published late Wednesday.

The Spanish government had asked the court to bar Sortu from electoral lists in municipal elections to be held in the Northern Basque country, arguing that it is a simple "extension" of the banned Batasuna party.

The Sortu party was launched in February by people close to Batasuna, ETA's outlawed political wing that was banned in 2003, as a new party that rejects violence.

ETA's campaign of bombings and shootings for a Basque homeland independent of Spain has been blamed for 829 deaths in more than four decades.

Spain's central government had voiced doubts over the legality of Sortu, and said it would be up to the courts to make a decision.

ETA on January 10 declared a "permanent and general ceasefire" to be verified by the international community.

© 2011 AFP

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