Basque PP leader calls for corruption control within party

Basagoiti supports move to penalize budget offenders, despite criticism of "hare-brained" idea within government

The leader of the Popular Party (PP) in the Basque Country, Antonio Basagoiti, has called for a boost to internal party control to prevent future corruption cases. Basagoiti, who has put forward his proposals in writing to the PP headquarters in Madrid ahead of next month's party conference, told radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday that the document makes the case for "a strong defense of democratic and political regeneration in Spain" in light of recent cases of corruption.

Former PP Valencia regional premier Francisco Camps is currently standing trial for accepting bribes as part of the wide-ranging Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts case, which has also engulfed party officials in other regions, including Madrid.

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The Basque PP leader also commented on Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro's suggestion on Wednesday that politicians and other public-sector managers who breach their budgetary constraints should be held "criminally responsible." Basagoiti said he supported the idea, despite the fact that sources from within Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's PP government have said that the idea is a non-starter, describing the plan as "unviable and hare-brained."

On ETA and the end of terrorist violence in the Basque Country, Basagoiti said he did not agree with Socialist regional leader Patxi López's analysis that "ETA has been defeated," but he did say that the end of the separatist group was "very near at hand."

ETA declared a "definitive" end to violence last year, but Rajoy's PP government has yet to respond with any initiatives to secure the peaceful disarming of the organization. Basagoiti's Basque PP supports the minority government of Socialist leader López in the region's parliament.

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