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New Basque Political Party Named

Thu 10th Feb 2011

Spain's latest political party, created by left-wing Basque nationalist group Batasuna, has announced it's name to the press for the first time on Tuesday.

The announcement of the creation of this new party by Batasuna was particularly poigniant as it resulted from a rejection of violence, including that of the separatist group ETA, of which Batasuna has long been considered the political wing.

This is a major development for both Batasuna's policy and a significant move towards peace in the Basque region following ETA's announcement of a "permanent" ceasefire earlier in the year.

The new party has been named "Sortu," which means "birth" or "rising " in the Basque language, Euskara, and party members have insisted that they will not simply represent a continuation of previous political sentiment.

Batasuna was outlawed in 2003 and have been unable to stand in any political election since that time, due to its refusal to openly condemn ETA, which has been responsible for 829 deaths in the past 45 years. The new party, Sortu, aims to change that policy.

"We reject all violence and any agreements with those who practice it. We reject it openly and without concessions to anyone, including ETA," a Sortu spokesperson said.

Despite receiving the full and public support of Sinn Fein, the Irish political party, the announcement was met with a certain degree of skepticism. Some Journalists asked why the new party did not call for ETA to disband entirely.

Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, Spain's deputy prime minister and Interior minister, referred to the rejection of violence as being "early days' and reminded the press that ETA themselves have yet to make such a move.

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