SPAIN: AT BREAKING POINT? A political and economic analysis for 2013 IBERIANS OF THE YEAR: The most influential people and groups of 2012

The Basque radical left

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ETA probably hasn’t been as prominent this year as it might have hoped. The political mainstream and many Spaniards received the armed Basque seperatist group’s January announcement of a “permanent and general” ceasefire with suspicion and a shrug. What people wanted to hear from the Basque terrorist organisation was a clear decision to end its four-decade campaign of violence. Eventually that also came, in October, to a mostly warm welcome. But ETA itself has been a weak, clumsy figure in recent months and much of the credit for its shift away from violence must go to its traditional political support, the izquierda abertzale. These Basque radical nationalists understood that terror was a dead-end for their cause and slowly and laboriously they pressured the “military wing” to give up the ghost. In addition, abertzale nationalists are now governing many parts of the Basque region and Navarra, after legal restrictions were lifted and they were allowed to run in May’s regional elections. The presence of supposed “allies of ETA” in public institutions upsets many in Madrid and the Basque Country, but ETA itself, it seems, is as good as extinct.

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