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First ever non-nationalist leader in Basque country

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First ever non-nationalist leader in Basque country

First ever non-nationalist leader in Basque country
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Turning the page of nationalism, the Basque country has sworn in its first ever non-nationalist president.

Breaking from tradition, Socialist Patxi Lopez took the oath of office on the Basque constitution rather than on the Bible. He also left out the traditional mention of “being humbled before God”, preferring the words: “Standing on Basque land, beneath the Guernica tree.” The tree symbolises a medieval custom in which Spanish kings, standing under an oak tree, vowed to give the Basques special rights. Lopez will lead a minority government with the backing of mainstream conservatives, ending nearly three decades of Basque nationalist rule. He has vowed to make the fight against the terrorist organisation ETA a priority, and has pledged extra funds for the police. The group, which has said it considers Lopez a “priority target”, wasted no time on Wednesday by blowing up a telecoms relay in northern Spain claiming no victims.