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Europe

Spain Bans Another Political Party for Supporting ETA

Spain's Supreme Court has banned another Basque separatist political party, the Communist Party of Basque Lands (PCTV), for supporting militant Basque separatist group ETA.

People wave Spanish flags during a protest against the Basque separatist group ETA in Madrid

Spain has prohibited a referendum for Basque independence

The move on Thursday, Sept. 18, follows the court's dissolution of Basque Nationalist Action (ANV) on Tuesday, the region's third-strongest party at municipal level, because of ETA links. The parties had emerged as the successors of ETA's political wing Batasuna after it was outlawed in 2003.

National Court judge Baltasar Garzon had earlier slapped a temporary ban on the two parties to prevent them from contesting the national parliamentary elections held on March 9.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government and prosecutors had sought a ban on the parties, which Garzon described as having close financial and other links with Batasuna and ETA.

The PCTV is represented at municipal level, and has nine MPs in the Basque regional parliament. Half of the ANV's electoral lists had previously been prohibited in the May 2007 municipal elections, but the party nevertheless rose to the region's third-largest force, gaining control of about 30 localities.

ETA, which has killed more than 820 people in its four-decade campaign for a sovereign Basque state, has been listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

The bans followed the Constitutional Court's decision to prohibit a regional referendum on the self-determination of the Basque region, planned by the regional government, last week.

Basque nationalist analysts accuse the Spanish government and judiciary of using the fight against ETA as a pretext to block any discussion on independence.

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