Basque Separatists Get Best-Ever Result in Spain’s Regional Vote

(Bloomberg) -- A far-left Basque separatist party with historic ties to the now-defunct ETA terrorist group secured its best result ever in legislative elections of the affluent northern Spanish region.

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Bildu on Sunday won six more seats than in the 2020 election, the highest number of votes since the political party’s founding in 2011. It marks a significant moment for the party, which has angered many in the country with its ambiguity over denouncing Basque terrorism.

The group was formed by left-leaning nationalist groups and the party has included ex-terrorists on its ballot in the past. ETA laid down arms in 2011.

Bildu and the governing conservative-nationalist PNV tied with 27 seats each, leaving both parties short of the 38 seats needed for a majority. The Socialists, which govern over Spain, won 12, two more than in the previous ballot.

The messy outcome is the latest example of the Mediterranean country’s alarming political fragmentation and highlights the challenges facing Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who has managed to stay in power with a handful of small Catalan and Basque parties making greater and greater demands for autonomy and eventual independence. They represent some of the richest parts of the Spain, anchored in manufacturing and tourism.

In the short term, the center-right and pro-business PNV has a good chance to retain power because the Socialists, which are now in the position of kingmaker will likely back them over Bildu in the regional parliament.

Bildu and the PNV are both helping prop up Sanchez’s minority government. Bildu has indicated it would continue to back Sanchez at the national level even if he doesn’t pick them as allies in the Basque parliament.

(Writethrough of story with more details.)

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