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Basque nationalists on course for victory

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Basque nationalists on course for victory

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Exit polls in the regional election in the Basque country show the Basque nationalist party, the PNV, led by Juan Jose Ibarretxe in the lead.

The moderate nationalists have been in power for 29 years and first indicators show they will hold on despite being run close by the ruling Socialist Party. The Basque candidate backed by the government is Patxi Lopez whose now tipped to come second. The Socialists had been focussing their campaign on the economy rather than issues of national identity. Hours before polls opened, the Basque police arrested a suspected member of the militant group ETA who was believed to have been planning an imminent attack.