Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez has retained power in the recent general elections -- but his government now faces the threat of increasingly insistent demands for autonomy from the troubled northern Basque region.
MV Basque National Party member of Parliament, Ramon de la Sota speaking in English (2 shots)
DE LA SOTA: "Well first of all the Basque Nationalist Party does not believe that violence can obtain the status of autonomy. We shall play at politics, we shall play at democratic politics, we have been democrats since the founding of the party eighty-five years ago. We do not believe that violence will help the Basque cause in any way. We are going ahead with negotiations with the Spanish government on a purely political level and talks on a level of compromise and pact, if we can obtain such a pact or such compromise, certainly."
DE LA SOTA: "The main points included in the statute of autonomy are full control of health, education, urban planning, industrial planning. We must have our own taxation, we must have our own police force which will work side by side with the central government police forces. We want our own Supreme Courts and we want to have generally a control of whatever happens in the Basque country. Leaves international representation, defence and money -- shall be say -- the wider economic planning -- to the central ........government. Everything else must be included in the statute of autonomy and in the power of the future autonomous Basque government."
The newly-elected Herri Batasuna members of parliament have said that they will not take up their seats -- in order to demonstrate their disdain for the central government. But observers in the Basque country say the group's showing was a striking indication of the extent of popular feeling behind ETA.
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Background: Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez has retained power in the recent general elections -- but his government now faces the threat of increasingly insistent demands for autonomy from the troubled northern Basque region. Senor Suarez's Centre Democratic Union, won about a hundred and seventy seats in the lower house of parliament -- but the election surprise was the victory in three provinces of the radical Basque group Herri Batasuna, which is believed to be directly linked with the separatist guerrilla group, ETA. The more moderate Basque national Party won eight seats. Shortly before the election, one of their successful candidates, Ramon de la Sota, said in Bilbao that the party was wholly committed to democratic reform and against violence -- and would be presenting a statute of autonomy for consideration by the new parliament.