Expatica news

Spain to bar separatist party from town councils

MADRID – Spain’s government said Friday it plans to prevent a banned Basque separatist party from running municipalities, such as the one in a town where a businessman was killed by suspected ETA gunmen earlier in December.

"We are going to look into legal means to prevent official parties that are banned for supporting terrorism from leading town councils," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said following a cabinet meeting.

The announcement followed an outcry in Spain over the killing on Wednesday of a 71-year-old businessman, Ignacio Uria Mendizabal, by suspected gunmen from the armed separatist group ETA in the small Basque town of Azpeitia.

The town is led by members of the Basque Nationalist Action (ANV) party, the only party in the council which refused to condemn the attack.

The ANV is a small extreme-left separatist party which was reactivated before local elections in 2007.

Spain’s supreme court declared the ANV illegal in September 2008, labeling it a front for Batasuna, the political wing of the Basque separatist group ETA which was outlawed in 2003.

Despite the ban, ANV legislators continue to lead 42 town councils in the Basque Country and neighbouring Navarra.

ETA, considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States, is blamed for the deaths of 824 people in its 40-year campaign of bombings and shootings to carve a Basque homeland out of parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

[AFP / Expatica]