Sortu was denied legal status ahead of a local election in the Basque Country by Spain's Supreme Court on the grounds that it was the successor to Batasuna.
11-judge panel at the Constitutional Court. Photo: EITB
Spain's Constitutional court on Wednesday accepted a legalization appeal that granted political status to the banned Basque nationalist left-wing party Sortu, smoothing the way for the pro-independence party to field candidates in the upcoming Basque Country elections.
Six magistrates of a 11-judge panel at the Constitutional Court, the highest in the country, voted in favor of granting legal status to Sortu. The magistrates considered that the new Basque left-wing party have decided to split away from the armed Basque group ETA and that the armed group has accepted the "new political criteria".
According to the ruling, the Spanish High Court went against Sortu's legitimate right to create a political party. In their favor, the ruling considers of great importance the charter of the new party, that rejects for the first time violence as a means of political action, including ETA's violence.
Three of the dissenting judges announced they will sign a single vote on the ruling.
Sortu was denied legal status ahead of a local election in the Basque Country by Spain's Supreme Court. According to the Court, newly formed political party Sortu, that said it rejected violence by the armed group ETA, was the successor to Batasuna, a banned political party linked to the armed Basque group ETA.
Sortu had field candidates at local elections across most regions on May 22 after ETA declared a permanent ceasefire in January that was swiftly rejected by the central government.
The new party's unveiling on Feb. 7 was the culmination of intense internal debates within ETA-linked pro-independence groups which concluded that bombs and bullets were no longer an effective way to seek a Basque state independent of Spain and France.
The Supreme Court said it had decided not to include Sortu on the list of legal political parties. It ruled that "ETA gestated, promoted and supervised a strategy (conceived) by Batasuna to create a new party and its set-up, including that of formally rejecting violence".
A year full of events
Many things have happened since Sortu was denied legal status to stand in the local vote in the Basque Country. Pro-independence militants and Sortu supporters, which now go under the name of Abertzale left, were allowed to stand in the vote under the Basque left-wing coalition Bildu. Bildu was formed by Eusko Alkartasuna, Alternatiba and the Abertzale left.
Bildu was only allowed to participate in the election after Spain's Constitutional Court overturned a Supreme Court ban.
Bildu surged in the local vote beating Spain's two largest parties PP and PSOE and coming second only to PNV in elections that left the Socialists without a single important mayor's office.
On October 10th, the Basque armed group ETA issued a statement saying it was ending its 43-year armed campaign for independence and called on Spain and France to open talks.
Bildu became Amaiur ahead of general election in Spain when left-wing nationalist party Aralar joined the coalition.