No vote for Ibarretxe's independence plan

26th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2005, MADRID- The Spanish parliament will formally reject the controversial Basque independence next week.

26 January 2005

MADRID- The Spanish parliament will formally reject the controversial Basque independence next week.

Party leaders in the lower house agreed to hold a debate next Tuesday, 1 February to consider the initiative, which has scant support in the national legislature and will be overwhelmingly rejected.

The proposal reached Spain's legislature earlier this month after being approved by the Basque regional parliament in December.

It was supported by moderates, who adamantly reject the use of violence in the region's quest for sovereignty, as well as by remnants of Batasuna, a party outlawed by Madrid because of its ties to the terrorist group ETA.

ETA has killed more than 830 people since the late 1960s in its campaign for an independent Basque nation comprising parts of northern Spain and southern France.

The vote on the sovereignty plan in the national legislature was agreed by a consensus among the ruling Socialists, the main conservative opposition Popular Party and a Canary Islands regional grouping.

Those three parties used their majority on the lower house's directorate to reject a motion from the moderate Basques nationalist party - PNV - and the United Left coalition calling for a procedure that would have allowed broader discussion of the initiative in parliament.

Both the PNV and the United Left have said they will challenge the decision before Spain's Constitutional Court.

Under parliamentary procedure, the lower house will meet to hear a defence of the sovereignty project by three members of the Basque regional parliament, which will be followed by statements from each legislative bloc setting out its position on the issue.

Deputies will then proceed to vote down the initiative.

Conceived by the president of the Basque autonomous region, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, the controversial plan calls for the Basque provinces to be a state "freely associated" with Spain and for Madrid to officially recognize a distinct "Basque nationality compatible with Spanish nationality."

The region already enjoys a substantial degree of self-government by virtue of a 1982 autonomy statute that gives the Basques the right to maintain their own administration, parliament and police force, control local taxation and spending and run their own educational and health-care systems.

Ibarretxe has vowed to submit the plan to a referendum in the Basque region even if the national parliament rejects it.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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