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Is this something comparable to the IRA leadership recognising that they can do more to advance their objective by politics than by armed struggle?

What are the chances of this ceasefire ending the use of violence for political purposes in the Basque Country?

Again drawing an analogy with Irish history there is always the potential of a small fringe group taking up the gun the mainstream leadership has laid down and over time replacing one terrorist threat with a comparable one. Is this a realistic scenario in the Basque context?

by Gary J on Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:44:28 PM EST
Personally I worry most about the reaction of the Spanish nationalists within the Basque Country, basically the Basque PP, which are the equivalent of the Unionist.

We haven't had any anti-ETA paramilitary activity since the early 1980's (the GAL, scroll down to the section on State Terrorism in Democratic Spain), and I hope nobody gets any funny ideas.

In the immediate short term, two things will happen.

  1. The Spanish government will negotiate with ETA on disarmament and prisoners;
  2. The Basque political parties will negotiate among themselves a new statute for the Basque Country
We can discuss the legal and constitutional framework within which these negotiations will be carried out, and probably will in subsequent diaries by myself or others.
The PP is, however, squarely against both negotiations taking place.

Today a new ETA statement will be published by Gara, and next Tuesday Zapatero will start political contacts, first with PP national leader Rajoy, then with Lehendakari (Basque regional President) Ibarretxe and then with the rest.

A return to violence by an ETA faction will not be tolerated by and large, even in the Basque country, as long as the negotiations alluded to above are ongoing. Give it at least 6 years: 2 to the next elections which Zapatero is now set to sweep nationally and a 4-year term after that. By the way, Basque regional elections will also happen inside of 2 years, and will have the flavour of a constitutional assembly election.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 23rd, 2006 at 02:55:57 AM EST
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