"Countdown for outlawing of Bildu has begun," warns PP spokesman

Interior Ministry to closely monitor activities of Basque radical left parties Bildu spokeswoman warns government not to return to "recipes of the past"

French police take a member of ETA into custody on Tuesday.
French police take a member of ETA into custody on Tuesday.JAVIER ETXEZARRETA (EFE)

The Popular Party (PP) government has suggested that Bildu, the radical pro-independence coalition that has ruled in many Basque municipalities since May 2011, might be engaging in behavior that would warrant outlawing it from political life.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández has questioned a public subsidy that may be granted by the city of San Sebastián for a documentary on ETA inmates. If it does, he said, it would be one of the causes for outlawing a party given the green light in a recent Constitutional Court ruling.

However, this does not mean that the government would immediately request that Bildu be outlawed. Instead, Interior sources say, the group's movements will be closely monitored. The PP spokesman in Congress, Alfonso Alonso, said that "the countdown for a possible outlawing of Bildu and Amaiur [Bildu's equivalent in national parliament] has begun."

Bildu spokeswoman Larraitz Ugarte warned the central government not to return to "recipes of the past," in reference to the outlawing of Batasuna, ETA's political wing, in 2003. Some of its members regrouped in coalitions such as Sortu, Bildu and Amaiur.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Basque Nationalist Party, Iñigo Urkullu, met with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday to discuss his strategy for consolidating the end of ETA terrorism.

ETA announced a "cease in hostilities" last October but has yet to put down its weapons definitively.

Arrests in France

French Police took one of two alleged ETA members into custody on Tuesday following a search of a home in the town of Albi, which was allegedly used as a hideout for the Basque terrorist organization. The pair, Ugaitz Errazquin Tellería and José Javier Osés Carrasco, were picked up before dawn Tuesday. Police confiscated computer data and two stolen vehicles.

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