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Catalan leader resigns over ETA meeting

Published on 27/01/2004

27 January 2004

BARCELONA – One of Catalonia’s leaders resigned Tuesday over his secret meeting with ETA terrorists.

Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira, leader of the left-wing ERC party which forms one part of a three-party pact which runs Catalonia, offered his resignation to his colleague Pascall Maragall.

Maragall, who is another of the leaders in the Catalan government, has accepted the resignation.

The affair has caused a scandal for the left wing in Spain in the run-up to the general election on 14 March.

The ruling conservative Popular Party has exploited the left-wing’s willingness to deal with the terrorist group which has been linked to the deaths of 800 people over the past 36 years.

Carod admitted he took part in the a meeting in France with members of ETA in an effort to get them to agree not to carry out any attacks in Catalonia.

But he has been widely criticised by all parties.

The main opposition leader Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who heads the socialist PSOE party, called on Carod to resign Tuesday to resolve the political crisis over his meeting with ETA.

The right-wing ABC newspaper ran the allegations in its edition Monday.

The revelations were timed to coincide with the start of an international conference on the victims of terrorism held in Madrid and to embarrass the left-wing politician in the run-up to the election.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Zapatero said that relations between his party and the Catalonian socialist party PSC were “safeguarded”.

He denied that in light of the scandal there was any talk of any negotiation with the right-wing CiU, the Catalan nationalist party which ruled the region for more than 20 years under elder statesman Jordi Pujol.

It has been suggested that the three-party pact which is running Catalonian would have to be dissolved in light of the scandal.

Carod will remain in the government but will no longer be leader.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news