Basque coalition can stand in Spain elections

6th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday reversed a Supreme Court decision and authorized Basque pro-independence coalition Bildu to stand in local elections on May 22.

By six votes to five the court slapped down the decision Sunday to bar the electoral lists put forward by Bildu due to its links with the banned movement Batasuna.

The electoral campaign for the local ballots started at midnight Friday (2200 GMT Thursday).

Spain's Supreme Court had banned some 250 lists of candidates presented by Bildu from standing in the elections because of their ties with Batasuna, the outlawed political wing of the armed Basque separatist group ETA.

Batasuna was banned in 2003 because of its supposed links with ETA, which is held responsible for 829 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for independence for the Basque Country of northern Spain and southwestern France.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba had argued that Bildu was "part of ETA's strategy" and said some of its members "have a direct link to the outlawed Batasuna."

Bildu was formed with two legal far-left Basque parties, Eusko Alkartasuna and Alternatiba, earlier this month after the Supreme Court banned a new Basque pro-independence party called Sortu, arguing it was an extension of Batasuna.

© 2011 AFP

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