The Spanish government has asked the country’s highest court to ban a new political party on the grounds that it is a voting vehicle for the outlawed Batasuna party.
The ASB party is clearly illegal, said Attorney General Candido Conde Pumpido: “This decision is based on election law and also on previous cases in which the Supreme Court banned Batasuna and other associated parties,” he told reporters at a press conference.
ASB officials now have ten days to argue their case. Batasuna was banned in 2003 for refusing to renounce violence.
But the party is determined to have representation at upcoming polls, said spokesman Pernando Barrena: “If necessary, we will field independent candidates in the municipal and regional elections on May the 27th.”
Batasuna has the support of around 15 percent of the two million people living in the Basque country. This latest move by the Socialist government in Madrid further dampens hopes of a restart of the peace initiative with ETA.
The government broke off talks after a bomb at Madrid’s Barajas Airport killed two people last December.