Spain's Basque Country regional vote yields likely repeat of incumbent coalition

  • World
  • Monday, 22 Apr 2024

Left-wing separatist EH Bildu party candidate for Basque premier Pello Otxandiano and party president Arnaldo Otegi celebrate following Basque Country regional elections, in Bilbao, Spain, April 21, 2024. EH Bildu won 27 seats of the 75 seat parliament. REUTERS/Vincent West

MADRID (Reuters) - The coalition ruling Spain's Basque Country looked set to stay in power as the conservative nationalists tied with their left-wing separatist rivals in Sunday's regional election but will likely keep the support of the third-placed Socialists.

The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and EH Bildu ("Basque Country Unite") both earned 27 seats, falling well short of the 38 needed for a majority in the regional parliament. But the PNV garnered nearly 30,000 more votes than Bildu, which gained six seats from the previous election in 2020.

"The diversity of our people has been reflected today in the ballot box and that reality must be respected," the PNV's main candidate, Imanol Pradales, told ecstatic supporters after the count.

The Socialist Party, which has been the PNV's junior coalition partner since 2016, emerged as kingmaker with 12 seats.

The vote was seen as key for its potential national implications, as Spain's shaky government led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez needs the support of both Basque parties - as well as Catalan separatists - in a highly fragmented parliament.

Critics have repeatedly denounced Sanchez's agreements with separatist parties. During the Basque campaign, the Socialists distanced themselves from Bildu, signaling they were more inclined to support the PNV.

Founded in 2012 as a coalition of left-wing parties, Bildu has faced criticism for its alleged proximity to the now-defunct armed group ETA. Bildu has publicly rejected violence but its candidate Pello Otxandiano avoided condemning the group.

Left-wing party Sumar, which is part of the national government coalition, entered the Basque parliament for the first time with one seat. The conservative People's Party obtained seven seats and far-right Vox got one.

The Basque Country has one of the highest regional GDPs per capita in Europe. Since ETA announced its total dissolution in 2018, there have been no secession attempts.

(Reporting by Ana Cantero; Additional reporting by David Latona; Editing by Diane Craft)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In World

Caribbean leader blasts 'empty' climate promises at small islands summit
Portugal hosts over 1 mln foreign residents: AIMA
Ukraine commander says French military instructors to visit Ukrainian training centres
Argentine President Milei to meet Apple, Google, Meta CEOs in US
Chinese envoy hails "unbreakable" ties with Zambia
Iran's near-bomb-grade uranium stock grows, talks stall, IAEA reports say
Death toll rises to 20 after storms hit southern U.S. states
Botswana, FAO launch plan to increase honey production
Hong Kong's value of total export up 11.9 pct in April
Ghana's central bank assures adequate reserves to meet foreign exchange demand

Others Also Read