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Basque left electoral gains contrasts Spanish conservative win

Basque left electoral gains contrasts Spanish conservative win
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In an interview by satellite link with politician Jon Inarritu in the city of San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque region, euronews asked him about the Amaiur coalition’s regional victory. He has won a seat to represent Biscay province (Vizcaya).

Beatriz Beiras, euronews: Mr. Inarritu, what’s the main message to come out of yesterday’s elections in Spain?

Jon Inarritu: The result is totally different when you compare the People’s Party crushing majority nationally and the result here in the Basque country, where society has given sovereigntist forces most support. Where Amaiur is concerned, the electorate has endorsed the united sovereigntists who won a historic result: seven parliament seats for Amaiur.

euronews: With this result, your coalition can even form a parliamentary group. What mandate have the voters given to take with you to Madrid?

Inarritu: From the very beginning, we knew our ultimate goal wasn’t Madrid. Our reference is the Basque Country, and we’re going to Madrid to reclaim the rights of the Basque people and Basque workers. We’ll be there as long as we are left the power to ask things for the Basque Country. We don’t intend to participate actively in managing the state through the institutions of Madrid.

euronews: Specifically, are you going to ask for a referendum on self-determination?

Inarritu: Yes. We’re going to work on three fronts. The first relates to sovereignty. We’re going to reclaim the right of the Basque Country to reclaim its future freely. The second line relates to the conflict this country has lived through for decades, even for centuries. We ask the government to take the high ground so that the conflict is resolved by democratic means. The third axis is the demand for a new socio-economic model. We want to develop this model from here, but as long as the Basque Country is still Spanish we will uphold the left in measures to fight against neo-liberal policy.

euronews: What impact did the definitive renunciation of violence by ETA have on Amaiur’s results?

Inarritu: It’s hard to know. We think that the result is a reflection of the nationalist forces uniting, and having a roadmap for peace and normalisation in the Basque Country. This is the Guernica accord signed by the Amaiur coalition’s member political formations.

euronews: You don’t think that ETA declaring an end to violence did you some good?

Inarritu: No, I don’t think so. It happened, but I don’t think it influenced the result.

euronews: Getting back to the economic crisis and austerity, in concrete terms, what’s your position?

Inarritu: We think that the social cuts introduced by the outgoing Spanish government didn’t help resolve the crisis at all. On the contrary, the debt and the deficit are still there. And poverty and unemployment have risen in Spain. Therefore we think that the left must take measures.