The Basque regional parliament has voted to carry out a controversial referendum on self- determination in defiance of the Spanish government. The plan was approved by 34 votes against 33, mirroring divisions within Basque society.
The region’s premier, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, said it was aimed at solving the conflict with separatist group ETA. “Similar consultation is allowed in other independence documents in Spain. This consultation is democratic because there’s nothing more democratic than consulting people to find out and listen to public opinion,” Ibarretxe said.
But Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the plan had no future. She said Madrid would challenge the decision in the Constitutional Court and urged Basques to “develop their self-government and identity without violating the constitution.”
The referendum in October would ask citizens to approve of peace negotiations with ETA and talks between political parties on the region’s independence. But it seems doomed to failure – a court challenge would put a hold on the vote.