Politics

Regional tensions

PP leader Basagoiti calls for early election in the Basque Country

05/07/2012

Basagoiti announced on Monday that he considers ended the agreement that gave Patxi Lopez the necessary support to become premier of the Basque Country and will meet him soon to tell him so.

  • Patxi Lopez listens in parliament to Antonio Basagoiti. Photo: EFE

    Patxi Lopez listens in parliament to Antonio Basagoiti. Photo: EFE

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Antonio Basagoiti, leader of the conservative party PP in the Basque Country, said on Monday that "there is no logic to that the PSOE is still in front of the Basque Government" and called for an early election to the Basque parliament.

Talking to the radio station Punto Radio Euskadi, Basagoiti, whose party gave socialist Patxi Lopez the necessary support in parliament to become premier of the Basque Country, said Lopez is "raising unacceptable proposals" for the PP and "he lacks strength in front of the left-wing nationalist Abertzale Left".

Lopez, who is one of the two only regional presidents the PSOE has in all the Spanish regions, announced last week the Basque Government is presenting an appeal in the Constitutional Court against the Spanish Government's new rules allowing it to take control of budgets of regions.

Basagoiti said it is not normal that the Basque socialist party "raises proposals against that one who is supporting it" and announced that he considers ended the PSE-PP agreement that made Lopez Basque premier.

Regional tensions

Spain's deepest economic crisis in decades has disrupted the delicate power balance between the central government and highly autonomous regions like wealthy Catalonia and the Basque Country complicating the country's austerity drive to renew investor confidence.

Spain's 17 autonomous regions were granted autonomy in the 1978 Constitution recognising their nationalistic ambitions, but the bulk of power remained in Madrid.
The regions account for around 50 percent of public spending, almost all of it on health and education, but most have few powers to collect taxes, so depend on transfers from the central government.

Over the years, the culturally and linguistically distinct Basque Country and Catalonia have used their nationalist parties' clout in the national parliament to win concessions from the central government and deepen their autonomy.

But now, with the euro zone debt crisis mounting, the economy in its second recession since 2009, and the regions blamed for overspending, the central government has passed new rules allowing it to take control of budgets of regions that cannot meet tough deficit targets as soon as May.

Spain's regions missed deficit targets by a wide margin last year and international investors are keen to see signs that the central government will not let them overspend again as the country battles to avoid a bailout like neighbouring Portugal.

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