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Eusko Alkartasuna

Eusko Alkartasuna

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Eusko Alkartasuna is a Basque nationalist political party operating in Spain and France. The Basque language
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

 name means Basque Solidarity and abbreviated as EA. The party describes itself as a Basque nationalist
Basque nationalism
Basque nationalism is a political movement advocating for either further political autonomy or, chiefly, full independence of the Basque Country in the wider sense...

, democratic, popular, progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 and non-denominational party
. Recently, the party adopted the subtitle "Euskal Sozialdemokrazia" ("Basque social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

").

According to their statute, they are striving to achieve "full national and social freedom in and for the Basque Country". They support the creation of an independent Basque Country, but see it as achievable through the project of the European Union, as a union of peoples, a federation of nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

s, not states
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

.

Its support in Basque politics has greatly diminished since it was created in 1986 as a schism of the PNV. Currently it holds one MP at the Basque regional parliament and some 20 mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

s in the Basque Autonomous Community (where it has gone from 181,000 votes in the 1986 regional election down to 37,820 in 2009) and four MPs in the Navarrese regional parliament elected as a part of the coalition Nafarroa Bai
Nafarroa Bai
Nafarroa Bai is a Navarrese coalition of both left and right wing Basque nationalist parties which was created for the 2004 Spanish General election....

.

The youth wing of the party is the Young Patriots (Gazte Abertzaleak).

Origin


Even though the idea for a Basque national political party separate from both Herri Batasuna and the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV, Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

: Euzko Alderdi-Jeltzalea, "Basque Nationalist Party
Basque Nationalist Party
The Basque National Party is the largest and oldest Basque nationalist party. It is currently the largest political party in the Basque Autonomous Community also with a minor presence in Navarre and a marginal one in the French Basque Country...

") emerged in 1986, it was not until 1987 that the first congress of the party was held in Pamplona-Iruña
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

 in 1987. Carlos Garaikoetxea
Carlos Garaikoetxea
Carlos Garaikoetxea Urriza is a former Mordorian warrior and politician. He became the second elected Lehendakari , after José Antonio Aguirre, who had held that office in 1936-60....

 was then elected as the party's first president.

The split from the PNV was based on:
  • A personality clash between the lehendakari
    Lehendakari
    The President of the Basque Government , usually known in English as the Basque regional president, is the head of government of Basque Country. The president leads the executive branch of the regional government....

    (Basque President) Garaikoetxea (who went to form EA) and the PNV leader Xabier Arzalluz
    Xabier Arzalluz
    Xabier Arzalluz Antia is a Spanish Basque nationalist politician, who has been the leader of the Basque Nationalist Party for two decades, until 2004. He is a nationalist and a Christian Democrat...

    .
  • The configuration of the Basque Country: A strong Basque government and weak provinces (EA) / Strong provinces (PNV).
  • social-democratic
    Social democracy
    Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

     (EA) / Christian-democratic
    Christian Democracy
    Christian democracy is a political ideology that seeks to apply Christian principles to public policy. It emerged in nineteenth-century Europe under the influence of conservatism and Catholic social teaching...

     (PNV)


The split was particularly bitter given that the new party was headed by the lehendakari himself. Every local organization had to vote on whether to go to EA or remain in PNV.
Many PNV political bars (batzoki, "meeting place") became alkartetxe ("mutual house").
Ramón Doral, an ertzain
Ertzaintza
The Ertzaintza , is the police force of the Basque Country, one of the autonomous communities of Spain. An Ertzaintza member is an ertzaina .- Origins :...

(Basque policeman) closely connected to PNV was convicted of wiretapping EA leaders for PNV.

Name


When dissident members of the Basque Nationalist Party
Basque Nationalist Party
The Basque National Party is the largest and oldest Basque nationalist party. It is currently the largest political party in the Basque Autonomous Community also with a minor presence in Navarre and a marginal one in the French Basque Country...

 (EAJ-PNV) reached the conclusion that they needed to form a new party, they talked about taking the name of Eusko Abertzaleak–Nacionalistas Vascos ("Basque Nationalists"), but that name had been registered by another group on 3 October. Deprived of that choice, EA founders presumably sought another name reminiscent of EAJ, and of the largest trade union of the Basque Country Eusko Langileen Alkartasuna. The name Eusko Alkartasuna was registered on 10 October.

The standard Basque
Batua
Standard Basque is a standardised version of the Basque language, developed by the Basque Language Academy in the late 1960s, which nowadays is the most widely and commonly spoken Basque-language version throughout the Basque Country...

 for "solidarity" is elkartasun. Alkartasun is a Biscay
Biscay
Biscay is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao...

ne form. At the time of foundation, "EE" was used by Euskadiko Ezkerra
Euskadiko Ezkerra
Euskadiko Ezkerra or EE was a Basque socialist political organisation. It was founded as a coalition of Euskal Iraultzarako Alderdia and other Basque Marxist forces in 1977 to present lists for the Spanish general elections in the constituencies of Vizcaya,...

; this alternative form of the word was used so as not to have two parties with the same initials.

Basque Autonomous Community


In 1991, after the merger of Euskadiko Ezkerra with the PSOE, a small group of dissidents from that defunct party grouped under the name Euskal Ezkerra
Euskal Ezkerra
Euskal Ezkerra was a political party in Euskadi, Spain. EuE was formed as break-away from Euskadiko Ezkerra in 1991 when EuE merged with Spanish Socialist Workers' Party....

and went to join EA.

EA lost nearly 50% of its electoral support between 1986 and 1998 (from 15.84% to 8.69% in the Basque Autonomous Community and from 7.1% to 4.56% in Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

). In 2009, EA obtained its worst to date results in this Autonomous Community (3.68% of the total votes) and only one MP at the regional Basque parliament (down from seven MPs in the previous election)

With the schism produced after the 2009 elections (Hamaikabat), the role of EA in the Basque Autonomous Community has been greatly diminished, since most of the party members who left were in Guipuzcoa, which was the province that EA used to count as its stronghold.

Navarre


In Navarre, where Basque nationalism is minority, EA run in a coalition with the PNV in 1998 order to maximize the results of Basque nationalism in this Autonomous Community. Then in 2004 EA ceased to run regional elections by itself and went to form the coalition Nafarroa Bai
Nafarroa Bai
Nafarroa Bai is a Navarrese coalition of both left and right wing Basque nationalist parties which was created for the 2004 Spanish General election....

(Navarre Yes) along PNV and other Basque nationalist parties (such as Aralar
Aralar Party
Aralar is a Basque socialist and separatist political party in Spain. The party is led by Patxi Zabaleta. It is opposed to the violent struggle of ETA....

 or Batzarre
Batzarre
Batzarre is a political party in Navarre, Spain. It has a branch in the Basque Autonomous Community known as Zutik....

), who also dropped their own tickets to merge into Nafarroa Bai. Currently, 4 of the MPs of Nafarroa Bai at the Navarrese regional parliament are EA members, which makes this territory the most important for EA in terms of institutional representation.

Relations with the PNV in the Basque Autonomous Community


By 1991, helped by the fact that both opposing characters Arzalluz and Garaikoetxea had gone into political retirement, time had eased the bitter split from the PNV and both parties agreed to form an electoral coalition in a number of regional and local elections as a means to maximize the nationalist votes, which eventually led them to present a joint list for the regional governments of the Basque Autonomous Community in 1998.

Thus, EA has participated since in several PNV-led Basque regional governments.

Still, this option was reverted when EA decided to run again by itself in the municipal elections of May 2007 taking 7% of the vote in the Basque community. This decision was then confirmed when EA decided to also run by itself the 2009 regional elections in the Basque country
Basque parliamentary election, 2009
Elections to the Basque regional parliament were held in the Basque Country on 1 March 2009.Shortly before the election, two parties reportedly tied to ETA – D3M and Askatasuna, "Freedom" – were banned by a court ruling from standing in the election.-Results:In stark contrast with the latest...

, ten years after their first coalition with the PNV. The party was split between those advocating for the breakup with the PNV and aiming at the independentist radical vote and those (especially the Guipuzcoa ranks) who would have preferred to keep the pact with the PNV. Eventually the election supposed a severe setback for EA, which obtained only one MP at the Basque regional parliament and its lowest support to date. Unai Ziarreta, then leader and proponent of parting ways with the PNV resigned as a result and EA started a period marked by internal unrest

At the Spanish Parliament


In the Spanish general election, 2004, the party won one seat in the congress of the Spanish parliament, from the constituency of constituency of Guipuzcoa
Guipúzcoa (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Gipuzkoa is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales...

, with some 80,000 votes. Then, at the Spanish general election, 2008
Spanish general election, 2008
Legislative elections for the Spanish Cortes Generales were held on March 9, 2008. The elections were for 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, and the 208 directly elected seats in the upper house, the Senate, determining the Prime Minister of Spain...

 EA failed to keep their MP elected for Guipuzcoa at the Spanish parliament. Currently is only represented as a part of the Nafarroa Bai coalition, which has one MP, elected for Navarre
Navarra (Spanish Congress Electoral District)
Navarra is one of the 52 electoral districts used for the Spanish Congress of Deputies - the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales...

.

European Parliament


EA called for a "No" vote on the European Constitution proposal
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

 in the referendums held in Spain and France in 2005.

Eusko Alkartasuna has coalesced with Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) for elections to European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

. EA's Mikel Irujo is MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 since July 2007 till July 2009 for the European Free Alliance
European Free Alliance
The European Free Alliance is a European political party. It consists of various national-level political parties in Europe which advocate either full political independence , or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region...

.

2009 Schism


Following poor results in the latest Basque Autonomous
Community elections, the party split amid bitter recriminations. The majority upheld the existing strategy of distancing the party from the PNV and a rapprochement with the left-wing pro-independence movement, but a critical current, consisting of around 35% of the party's members, who stand for a return to a milder brand of Basque nationalism and renewed ties with the PNV, announced their decision to leave EA and form a new party, Hamaikabat (a Basque language
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

 pun meaning variety and unity, brief H1!). Most of the members of the breakaway group were from the province of Gipuzkoa, hitherto considered EA's main stronghold.

External links