The Basque parliament has sworn in a Socialist to lead the region’s first non-nationalist government in the Chamber’s history.
Socialist Patxi Lopez will head the new government. It’s the first time in three decades that the Basque region will have a government which fully supports remaining part of Spain. Lopez forged an alliance with the centre-right Popular Party last week. Juan Jose Ibarretxe’s moderate nationalist party came first in elections in March, but lost the overall majority that has kept it in power for so long. Lopez has said that his priority will be ending ETA’s violent campaign for a separate Basque state. That 40-year conflict has cost more than 800 lives, but the armed group has been weakened in recent months by the arrests of successive leaders in France. There has been some speculation that ETA’s new leadership may be more open to dialogue with the government.