The Spanish government has reacted cautiously to the announcement of a new Basque political party.
It is an attempt to win back legal political status for the separatist movement after the Batasuna party was banned in 2003 for its links with ETA terrorists.
In Bilbao founders of the new party, which has not been named yet, publicly rejected and opposed violence for political ends, including that of ETA — something Batasuna never did.
A leading member of Spain’s ruling socialists Marcelino Iglesias said: “This is important news and a marked improvement. But at the same time I’d like to say that Spain’s democracy has to be very demanding with this group after 25 years of supporting violence.”
The new party wants government approval to contest regional elections in May. Opposition conservatives in Spain want it blocked from taking part.
Last month, ETA announced a permanent and general ceasefire in its armed struggle for an independent homeland in the north of Spain and south western France.
More than 800 people have died in over 40 years of bombings and shootings.