ETA dominates election fight
1 March 2004
OVIEDO – Mariano Rajoy, priministerial candidate for the conservative ruling Popular Party, asked Monday all parties in the election fight to reaffirm a pact against terrorism.
Rajoy’s move came after two ETA terrorists were arrested Sunday with half a tonne of explosives in a lorry, 140 km from the capital.
The terrorists were thought to be heading for Madrid to carry out a ‘spectacular’ attack just before the election.
ETA has been at the centre of the political debate in Spain since the scandal in January over a leading Catalan politician’s secret meetings with the terrorist group were revealed.
The scandal damaged the Left in Spain, who were said by the Popular Party to be dealing with ETA – something all parties have agreed not to do.
Jose Lluis Rodriguez Zapatero, leader of the main socialist opposition PSOE party, accused Rajoy of using terrorism as a means to win an election.
Rajoy hit back Monday by saying he would not be “blackmailed” by ETA or anyone else who accused him of using the subject of terrorism as way of attracting votes.
He said he had not introduced the subject into the political debate and insisted that he has a “legitimate right and an obligation” to talk about the subject.
Rajoy added that if elected the PP would never come to any agreement or talk with the terrorist group.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news