Spain names interior minister to manage end of ETA

21st December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's new leader Mariano Rajoy Wednesday named veteran party man Jorge Fernandez Diaz, 61, as interior minister notably faced with managing the end of outlawed Basque separatist group ETA.

Diaz, a close ally of Rajoy, held several senior jobs under the government of former conservative Popular Party prime minister Jose Maria Aznar who ruled from 1996-2004.

Born in Valladolid in 1950 but a resident of the northeastern Catalonia since he was young, he led the Popular Party list for the region in November 20 elections in which the right soundly beat the Socialists.

A married father of two, he was trained as an industrial engineer and served under Aznar in various posts including secretary of state for education and secretary of state for parliamentary relations.

Known as a moderate who engages in dialogue, he must manage the sensitive denouement of ETA, which announced October 20 the end of its armed activity after more 40 years of shootings and bombings that killed 829 people.

As the armed group has declined, separatists fighting for an independent homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France have made big strides politically with strong gains in the last municipal elections.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article