31 May 2007
Assessment of the 27th May 2007 municipal and leasehold elections
A democratic framework to overcome the political conflict is now more necessary than ever
Three are the main conclusions of the Municipal, Leasehold and Autonomic Elections (except in Catalunya, Andalucia, Galiza and the Basque Autonomous Community) hold in the Spanish State the 27th May 2007.
The first conclusion, is that the Basque pro-independence left, is despite of the constant judicial and police attacks, despite all type of political, legal, electoral and media limitations, due to its illegalization, the only political expression that raises, that gains votes, while all the others are on a more or less pronounced downward trend.
The second conclusion, is that in these elections a clear opportunity to advance in the way in the political resolution of the conflict and to reinforce the multiparty dialogue has been lost, because the illegalization of the Basque pro-independence and socialist political expression commanded by the PSOE, has generated undemocratic elections and illegitimate municipal, leasehold and autonomic institutions, as one of the most important expressions of the Basque political map is, that is also a necessary part in the agreement for the resolution of the Basque conflict, as is the Basque pro-independence and socialist movement. Instead of eliminating an important problem in the way to peace, a new knot, that complicates the dialogue and agreement, has been formed at a critical moment.
The third conclusion is that the PSOE has not obtained the expected results that would have reinforced it before next years the General Elections where president Zapatero gambles his re-election. Even though the PSOE has had favourable economic results, the popularity obtained with the retirement of the troops from Iraq, or the homosexual marriage, have not his Government. This is mainly for the bad management carried out with the Catalan Process and especially the Basque one.
As we have already indicated it in the previous months, the PSOE has carried out an ominous management of the process mainly since March 2006 when ETA declared the permanent cease-fire. The PSOE does not want to face a process of political contents and has limited itself to manage a cease-fire diluting the opportunities and approaching the problem from a pacification point of view and using the process to feed his confrontation with the PP (remembered the multiple declarations where the PSOE boasts itself from doing less than the PP).
Its lack of historical ambition has brought it to manage the process in a conjectural and short-term way. Its lack of clarity and forcefulness before the Spanish citizenship has given its fruits in the ballot boxes. Meanwhile the PP has been able to win in votes and has taken advantage of PSOE’s political ambition towards its rancid, conservative, antisocial, neo-liberal and antiterrorist speech, totally against any negotiated and agreed solution towards the Basque subject, to continue reinforcing their intransigent position.
After the last elections the future of the political negotiation process for the resolution of the Basque conflict is at a worse political panorama, despite of which the Basque pro-independence and socialist movement, maintains a clear bid towards the political agreement that will bring peace and lasting justice scenario to the Basque Country.
Results in the four Basque Provinces under Spanish domination
Out of approximately 1,150,000 voters and approximately 4,000 councilmen, the Basque pro-independence left has almost obtained 190,000 votes and more than 700 elected representatives, with a raise of more than 30,000 votes, despite being banned during the pasts four years, outside the institutions, despite of continuing now a days being banned in most of the Basque municipalities, and despite the important ascent of the abstention. It has been the only political expression in gaining votes, while the other political parties, all legal, have lost electoral weight.
Out of approximately 500 municipalities, the Basque pro-independence left has, despite being illegal in many of them, been the most voted force in almost 60 Basque town halls. It has been the second voted force in more than 90 town halls, and third political force in other 45. Being the second force in the number of elected representatives.
All of this demonstrates, on the one hand, that the pro-independence left is still a real political force despite the other parties’ attempts to exclude it from the institutions and the political life, and on the other hand, that the social support towards a new democratic framework that surpasses the political conflict in a definitive way is an inescapable reality. These numbers are a clear sample of what would have happened if, as the Basque pro-independence and socialist left, had been legal in the whole of the territory with a on going process. It would have become the second political force of the country, reaching to be the true political alternative. The PNV and the PSOE had to know about it when they bid for its pre-electoral illegalization.
As far as the PNV, the party of the “missing” president Ibarretxe, in spite of being first force in the Basque Autonomous Community, has obtained very bad results, with about 300,000 votes, losing more than 100.000. A reality that has a lot to do with its neo-liberal policy, its fraudulent management of the institutions and mainly with the strategic change taken towards the process: promoted all by the president of the PNV, Josu Jon Imaz, who has turned his party a true hostage of the PSOE, to the service of Zapatero in Madrid, forgetting his commitment in the defence of the right of the Basque citizenship to decide and bidding to become a party that holds the balance of power in Madrid.
The PSOE has benefited from the PNV’s fall in the Basque Autonomous community and in Navarre it has not been reinforced as it hoped to try a change of Government. The PSN (Socialist Party of Navarre) has had a rejection attitude towards the process, without tending to create positive surroundings to reinforce it, on the contrary has looked for pretexts to continue with the status quo and the confrontation scheme. Being noticed in the ballot boxes.
Change in Nafarroa.
One of the knots that feed the conflict is the territorial partition of our country. Nafarroa, the historical province and biggest of the Basque Country is separated of the others, this separation is fruit of the Spanish state strategy that during the transition wanted to maintain and perpetrate the rejection policy towards the existence of the Basque nation and its right to decide.
In Nafarroa, UPN (the Navarrese version of the PP) has lost the absolute majority that had with the CDN aid, and despite being the most voted force more it seems it is going to lose the presidency of the Independent Government as well as the mayor of the capital, Iruñea (Pamplona), that, after the necessary agreements, would fall into the hands of the PSN and NaBai respectively.
NaBai, or Nafarroa Bai (Yes to Navarre), coalition, an alliance between PNV, EA and Aralar and with the support of some independents, has notably risen to such an extent to be the political force that will make possible a change of Government in Navarre.
This coalition has agglutinated the useful vote against the undemocratic, anti-Basque and contrary to the resolution of the conflict policies of UPN-PP and CDN. But it has also been an effective instrument for the PNV to reinforce itself in this area and to try to corner the Basque pro-independence left. NaBai pretends to be an option that, without proposing a real change that will favour the democratic conflict resolution process that will overcome the territorial partition, and end with 20 years of extreme rightist Spanish Government. Has thus become the second political force in the Parliament of Nafarroa, over the PSN-PSOE.
The Basque pro-independence left has obtained good results in the municipal elections, around 30,000 votes. The pro-independence left appears like the only real alternative with its new democratic framework proposal proposes to unify the four provinces and to give them the right to decide, overcoming therefore the knots of the conflict. Nevertheless, it has not been able to be voted for being declared illegal, to the Parliament of Nafarroa nor to participate in the creation of the Government of Navarre, a key Government in the resolution of the conflict. An added obstacle affects the process, as one of the main parts of the conflict is not present in this key institution.
This contradictory electoral reality in makes the Navarre’s Parliament chosen after the 27th May 2007, not reflect the social and political reality of the province.
The results in the Spanish state
The Spanish State, in the hardest confrontation between Zapatero and Rajoy, or PSOE and PP, the Spanish right has been fortified in these “primary” elections, since the of Al Quaeda attack of 11th March 2004 and despite having spent three years in the opposition, the PP has obtained more votes than the PSOE, although the PSOE has obtained more councilmen.
It seems that, although the economic data have been very favourable to the PSOE, the PP has been able to wear off the PSOE in a very hard confrontation in fundamental subjects such as the antiterrorist policy, the reform of the Catalan Estatut or the conflict resolution process in the Basque Country. But it must be underlined that above all the pressures undergone by the PSOE, this has not known to act to the height of the circumstances, nor with necessary the historical ambition that a political process of these characteristics required.
As we mentioned previously, the PSOE has limited to manage a mere pacification process not wanting to advance on what would really and definitively overcome the conflict and all its consequences: the political contents of the process and their way to surpass them, investigating in the way to overcome the territorial partition, looking for the way to recognize the Basque nation and staging the channels to give it the possibility to decide its future democratically and freely.
The PSOE knows perfectly that without approaching the political terms of the conflict it cannot be overcome as well as that the Basque Pro-Independence Left will never accept a process that does not overcome the conflict in a democratic and definitive way.
All of these place the PSOE and Zapatero in a very delicate position. It seems evident that the contradictory attitude maintained by the PSOE up until now in sensible matters such as Euskal Herria and Catalunya, or the antiterrorist issue, favours the PP.
On the other hand, if the PSOE takes up the PP’s policy on these matters, it seems evident that the PP would win, as the Spanish citizenship would prefer the original one to the copy. Nevertheless, the decision to clearly bid for an audacious policy in these matters will suppose a strong confrontation against the PP. Although both positions are dangerous, it seems evident that to follow as until now has no sense. Another thing is to know if the PSOE has an internal situation that allows it to make a clear policy in defence of the conflict resolution process and peace, something that most of the Spanish citizenship would finish congratulating.
Unequivocal commitment of the Basque Pro-Independence and Socialist Left towards the political resolutions process.
In this complicated political situation, the Basque Socialist Pro-Independence Left clearly bids to retake the political conflict resolution process of and to look for a global agreement that it places the Basque Country in a justice and lasting peace scene, reason why it will continue working in defence of a democratic framework regarding the relations with the Spanish State.
It is time of all the agents involved in the resolution of the conflict to act with responsibility. It corresponds us to each one of the parts to think and to look for the understanding in order to definitively overcome this conflict once and for all. The dialogue and negotiation process is deeply affected and the present situation, after the pre-electoral illegalization of the Basque Socialist Pro-Independence Left, is more than critical, as the PP is taking terrain. The pro-independence left is still committed to both, its peoples and to the democratic resolutions process, it corresponds to the other parts involved to take that commitment so that the future generations can live in a just and peacefully society.
30 May 2007
We want to apologize to all our readers after being two months without publishing any news. Technical problems didn't allow us to do it until today.
As you would imagine many and important things happened in the Basque Country in the last two months. We'll try to summarize them on the next couple of lines.
The best news came up from the last Sunday's council and provincial assemblies' elections in the south of the Basque Country.
But we'll start from where we left things. Beginning of April.
After the powerful rally organised by Batasuna attended by more than 20,000 people the left pro-independence did a new move, once again, to try to push ahead the process. A new party was presented: Abertzale Sozialisten Batasuna (Union of Patriot Socialists) and fulfilled all the requirements demanded by the fascist Parties' Law.
At the same time lists were organised to stand at the local council elections. 30,000 signatures were needed to be able to do so. In just two weeks 82,000 were collected proving the will of Basque people to have democratic elections.
The Spanish government's answer was quick and dramatic. 250 council elections Abertzale Sozialistak's platforms were banned. That move was understood as an attack again any kind of democratic process of resolution of the conflict and a lack of interest of the Spanish state to get involved in such.
The European Parliament Friendship for Democratic Resolution of Basque Conflict said:
"If we compare the Basque peace process with others in Europe such as Northern Ireland we see that no party was banned and all political positions and views were respected. This was crucial in establishing peace. Yet in the Basque Country it's possible that for the forthcoming elections a portion of Basque society will be denied the opportunity to express themselves politically."
Then ANV (Basque Nationalist Action, the old left pro-independence party who fought fascism in the 1936-1939 war)came up and said that they'd stand in elections to give voice to those banned and defend a political resolution to the conflict.
The Spanish government's response was the usual one and they got to ban 150 of the ANV's council and provincial lists.
The elections campaign was anything but a democratic one. ANV was marginalized, attacked, censured...everywhere but the strength of the left pro-independence and its activists overcame the obstacles and the results were spectacular: 187,000 votes.
Half of them were "illegal" and the "legal" ones provided the left abertzale 30 town majors and 720 councillors (half of them "illegal").
In the meantime 8 suspected members of ETA were arrested at the end of April and very badly tortured and 3 political refugees were arrested in Sheffield (England). Both attacks were considered as a an unprecedented move from the Spanish and British authorities.
The Sheffield Three are awaiting for trial in Belmarsh prison in London. They could be extradited to Spain in July.
ETA was interviewed by the Basque abertzale daily Gara where they stated that:
"If the attacks stop we are ready for a firm commitment to a violence-free scenario"
You can read the whole interview in English at: