Protest over banning of Basque candidates

Issue 

After the Supreme Court on May 16 banned the Basque party Abertzale Sozialisten Batasuna (ASB) from contesting the May 27 local and regional elections, more than 82,000 Basques signed petitions for the creation of new electoral lists. However hundreds of pro-independence and left candidates in the Basque Country have also been banned on the basis of suspected links to Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA — Basque Homeland and Freedom). Some 133 candidate lists of the legal party Accion Nacionalista Vasca (ANV — Basque Nationalist Action), which formed in 1931, have also been banned. A statement on May 23 signed by 17 members of the European Parliament described the bans as "a serious attack against the most basic civil and political rights in Europe" and called for a political, peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country.