Spanish Constitutional Court lifts ban on Bildu   2011-05-06 06:51:25 FeedbackPrintRSS

MADRID, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish Constitutional Court this Thursday voted to overturn the decision taken last Sunday by Spain's Supreme Court to ban the Basque nationalist coalition Bildu from presenting candidates at this month's regional and local elections.

Bildu will be able to now present candidates in the 254 municipalities in which it had originally presented lists of candidates.

The decision rejects the Supreme Court's opinion that Bildu, which is formed by members of Basque nationalist parties Euskal Askartasuna and Alternatiba and various independent left wing Basque nationalist groups, had presented lists of candidates " contaminated" by members of Batasuna.

Batasuna has been illegal since 2003 as it is considered to be the political wing of separatist group ETA, whose 45 year struggle for the independence of the Basque region of northern Spain and south-west France has led to 829 deaths.

Thursday's decision was taken after court number two at the Constitutional Tribunal decided Bildu's future should be voted on by the full council of the Constitutional Court after failing to reach a unanimous decision.

The full council counts on seven judges who are considered to be progressive in their viewpoint, while four are conservative, although the final vote to allow Bildu to stand at the elections was by the narrow margin of 6 votes to 5.

The Constitutional Court also criticized the original Supreme Court finding, commenting that it had acted when there was insufficient evidence to link Bildu with Batasuna.

Bildu was formed to a response to the Supreme Court's decision in March to refuse to inscribe the new Basque party Sortu in the electoral lists, again because of alleged links with ETA and Batasuna. Thursday's decision in the Constitutional Court raises serious questions about this finding and makes it probable that Sortu, which has always rejected political violence, will appeal March's decision.

Earlier on Thursday thousands of people marched through the streets of the Basque city of Bilbao in favor of the legalisation of the electoral coalition so that Bildu would be able to present candidates at the forthcoming elections.

Polls published on the eve of the electoral campaign showed Bildu would count on a level of support in the Basque country and Navarra which would allow it to almost certainly form coalitions with other nationalist parties to control the local authorities in several towns in the Basque region.

On hearing the confirmation of the news several hundred people celebrated in the streets of Bilbao.

Editor: yan
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