Eusko Alkartasuna

Eusko Alkartasuna

Eusko Alkartasuna is a Basque nationalist political party operating in Spain and France. The Basque language name means Basque Solidarity and abbreviated as EA. The party describes itself as a Basque nationalist, democratic, popular, progressive and non-denominational party. Recently, the party adopted the subtitle "Euskal Sozialdemokrazia" ("Basque social democracy").

According to their statute, they are striving to achieve "full national and social freedom in and for the Basque Country". They support the creation of an independent Euskal Herria, but see it as achievable through the project of the European Union, as a union of peoples, a federation of nations, not states.

The party is currently headed by Unai Ziarreta.

The youth wing of the party is the Young Patriots (Gazte Abertzaleak).

Origin

Even though the idea for a Basque national political party separate from both Herri Batasuna and the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV, Basque: Euzko Alderdi-Jeltzalea, "Basque Nationalist Party") emerged in 1986, it was not until 1987 that the first congress of the party was held in Pamplona-Iruña in 1987. Carlos Garaikoetxea was then elected as the party's first president.

The split from the PNV was based on:

The split was particularly bitter given that the new party was headed by the lehendakari himself. Every local organization had to vote on whether to go to EA or remain in PNV. Many PNV political bars (batzoki, "meeting place") became alkartetxe ("mutual house"). Ramón Doral, an ertzain (Basque policeman) closely connected to PNV was convicted of wiretapping EA leaders for PNV.

Name

When dissident members of the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) reached the conclusion that they needed to form a new party, they talked about taking the name of Eusko Abertzaleak–Nacionalistas Vascos ("Basque Nationalists"), but that name had been registered by another group on October 3. Deprived of that choice, EA founders presumably sought another name reminiscent of EAJ, and of the largest trade union of the Basque Country Eusko Langileen Alkartasuna. The name Eusko Alkartasuna was registered on October 10.

The standard Basque for "solidarity" is elkartasun. Alkartasun is a Biscayne form. At the time of foundation, "EE" was used by Euskadiko Ezkerra; this alternative form of the word was used so as not to have two parties with the same initials.

Recent years and representation

Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre

In 1991, after the merger of Euskadiko Ezkerra with the PSOE, a small group of dissidents from that defunct party grouped under the name Euskal Ezkerra and went to join EA.

EA lost nearly 50% of its electoral support between 1986 and 1998 (from 15.84% to 8.69% in the Basque Autonomous Community and from 7.1% to 4.56% in Navarre).

Since 1991, time has eased the bitter split from the PNV (helped by the fact that both opposing characters Arzalluz and Garaikoetxea had gone into political retirement), both parties have agreed to form an electoral coalition in a number of local elections as a means to maximize the nationalist votes, which eventually led them to present a joint list for the regional governments of Navarra and the Basque Autonomous Community in 1998. Thus, EA has participated in several PNV-led Basque governments, including the current one of President Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu. Still, EA decided to run by itself in the municipal elections of May 2007 taking 7% of the vote in the Basque community.

In Navarre, in 2004 EA ceased to run regional elections by itself and went to form the coalition Nafarroa Bai (Navarra Yes) along PNV and other nationalist parties.

At the Spanish Parliament

In the Spanish general election, 2004, the party won one seat in the congress of the Spanish parliament, from the constituency of Guipuzcoa, with some 80,000 votes. Then, at the Spanish general election, 2008 EA failed to keep their MP at the Spanish parliament so currently is only represented as part of the Nafarroa Bai coalition.

European Parliament

EA called for a "No" vote on the European Constitution proposal in the referendums held in Spain and France in 2005.

Eusko Alkartasuna has coalesced with Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) for elections to European Parliament. Currently EA's Mikel Irujo is MEP since July 2007 till July 2009 for the European Free Alliance.

References

External links

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