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Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 18:15 GMT


World: Europe

Basques choose their leader

ETA ceasefire: Opened way for key vote in Basque parliament

The new government in Spain's northern Basque region is meeting in the Basque capital, Vitoria, for the first time since elections in October.

For the first time it is made up exclusively of nationalist parties which favour independence for the troubled region.


Daniel Schweimler: the poltical background to the session of the Basque Parliament
Spain's two main political parties, the Conservative Popular Party and the Socialists, both of which oppose full independence, are in opposition.

A new Basque president is being chosen, who will lead moves to consolidate the ceasefire declared by the separatist group, ETA, last September.

He is expected to be Juan Jose Ibarretxe of the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) after ETA said it would support him.

With his election out of the way the parliament will be able to tackle the issue which has dominated the Basque region since ETA declared its ceasefire: how to consolidate peace.

The BBC Correspondent in Madrid, Daniel Schweimler, says no progress has been reported so far in secret talks between ETA and the government and the start of formal talks still seems some way off.

The PNV won 21 of the 75 seats in the assembly in the October elections, but needs the support of the 14 members of Euskal Herritarrok, the political wing of ETA, to lead the government.



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22 Dec 98 | Europe
Spain's ETA: No definitive ceasefire

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Internet Links


Basque Congress for Peace

Association for Peace in the Basque country

Spanish Ministry of the Interior


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