Historic success for separatists in Spain's Basque Country

International |  IANS  | Published :

Madrid, April 22 (IANS/DPA) The separatist left-wing coalition EH Bildu celebrated a historic success in the Basque regional elections on Sunday.

With around 95 per cent of votes counted the alliance, which advocates independence for the region in the north of Spain, won 27 seats - six more than in the last vote in 2020, when EH Bildu, which was founded in 2012, achieved the best result in its history to date with 21 seats.

The separatists will however remain in opposition, as late on Sunday it became clear that the governing coalition between the centrist Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez would continue to govern.

With most votes counted, the PNV looked set to win 27 seats, which combined with the PSOE's 12 would give the ruling coalition an absolute majority of 39 of the 75 seats in the parliament in Vitoria, the electoral authority said.

If the results were confirmed the coalition would end up losing two seats.

Like EH Bildu, which has former members of the disbanded terrorist organization ETA in its ranks, the PNV also seeks more self determination for the region from the central government in Madrid, but is less radical in its approach.

Iñigo Urkullu, who has been president of the Basque government since 2012, no longer presented himself as the leading candidate this time. He will most likely be replaced as head of government by his party colleague Imanol Pradales.

The underground group "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna" (ETA), which translates as "Basque Country and Freedom," was founded in 1959. It fought for an independent Basque Country for decades, carrying out some 3,000 attacks in which 857 people died and 2,600 were injured.

After ceasing its armed struggle in 2011, ETA announced its self-dissolution in 2018.

The Basque Country is now one of the most prosperous of Spain's comunidades autónomas - or autonomous communities.

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