Basque party snubs vote condemning Paris attack

Basque party snubs vote condemning Paris attack
Leader of the pro-independence political coalition Eh Bildu (Euskal Herria Bildu), Laura Mintegi gives a press conference in 2012. Photo: AFP
The regional parliament of Spain's Basque Country on Thursday failed to pass a motion condemning Wednesday’s terrorist attack in France after the region’s EH BIldu party objected to its wording.

The motion put forward by the Basque branch of Spain’s socialist PSOE party called on the parliament to condemn the attack on the satirical magazine which left 12 people dead.

Despite the difficulties associated with assembling politicians in early January, the motion had managed to get the backing of groups including the Basque Nationalist Party, the conservative Popular Party and the centrist UpyD.

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But the motion hit a stumbling block when the left-wing EH Bilbu (Basque Country Unite) party objected to a paragraph stating that the Basque Country "felt a special connection to the Paris attack against peaceful coexistence and liberty of expression” because it had “for many years suffered the effects of crimes carried out by fanatics".

The paragraph is a reference to the regime of terror carried out by the Basque independence group Eta, blamed for the killing of 829 people in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.

In a statement, EH Bildu said it was wrong to "combine the condemnation of this type of attack on human and democratic rights with other types of violence".

It was "unnecessary" to make a reference to "the political conflict suffered by Euskal Herria (the Basque name for the Basque Country)", the party added.

EH Bildu said instead it would prefer the wording to match that of a motion passed by the EH Bildu-controlled town hall of San Sebastian which simply condemned the attack on "human rights and freedom of expression", Spain's 20 minutos newspaper reported.

Formed in 2011, EH Bildu is a coalition of several other left-wing groups. It is the second largest political force in the region behind the Basque Nationalist Party.

The party was initially banned by Spain’s Supreme Court because of alleged ties to the alleged political wing of Eta, Batasuna, but the Constitutional Court later lifted this ban. 

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