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Right exploits ETA row

Published on 26/02/2004

26 February 2004

LEON- The row over a march against the ETA truce in Catalonia intensified Thursday.

The conservative Popular Party prime ministerial candidate Mariano Rajoy, accused those of taking part in the march in Barcelona Thursday of “legitimising” negotiations with the terrorist group.

The march was being staged to show “solidarity” after ETA declared a truce only in Catalonia.

The move came after Jose Lluis Carod-Rovira, leader of left-wing nationalist ERC and  former deputy leader of the Catalan regional government, was forced to resign in January after a secret meeting with ETA was exposed by a newspaper.

The scandal damaged the Left in Spain in the run-up to the general election on 14 March.

After ETA declared a truce in Catalonia, right-wing politicians claimed this was the result of Carod’s meeting with ETA.

The PP has claimed Jose Luis Zapatero, leader of the main socialist PSOE, should distance himself from the Catalan government, which is run by a three-party pact which includes  the socialists and ERC.

PP has refused to take part.

Rajoy said: “The only thing to say to ETA is: ‘No’.”

Politicians should not take part in an “clumsy manipulation” like the march, said Rajoy.

However, Zapatero hit back at “those politicians who present the election as a choice between  ‘me or chaos’.

Diverting attention to other issues in the election, he warned that if his party did not win the election pensioners would be in danger.

He called on the Spanish citizens “who want a change” and said if he won the election then he would promise them an “ideological aspect” from the Centre to the Left.

Zapatero also promised a return to the stability and agreement between the autonmous regions which he claimed were a hallmark of the 14 years of socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

                                            Subject: Spanish news