The Parliament meets in the Basque capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz, although the first session of the modern assembly, as constituted by the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, was held in Guernica – the symbolic centre of Basque freedoms – on 31 March 1980. Later in 1980 it started meeting at the premises of the Alavese government. In 1982, it got its own site in a former high school. The symbol of the Parliament is an oaken sculpture by Nestor Basterretxea representing a stylized tree, an allusion to the tradition of Basque political assemblies meeting under a tree, as in Guernica.
It is composed of seventy-five deputies representing citizens from the three provinces of the Basque autonomous community. Each province – Álava, Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya – elects the same number of deputies, despite their having very different levels of population. This was chosen to earn support from Alava and Navarre, less populated territories where Basque nationalism has less followers. Navarre did not join the autonomous community though. Sessions of the Basque Parliament are conducted in both Basque and Spanish, with translation services.
The current Speaker of the Basque Parliament is Izaskun Bilbao Barandica. Thanks to an electoral norm aimed at promoting gender equality within the parliament, the members of parliament today include 38 women and 37 men.
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