Demands for official status for Asturian / Hamas’ offer for Palestinian reunification

16 to 22 September

Demonstration for official status for Asturian.
Demonstration for official status for Asturian. Author: Vsuarezp @ Wikipedia
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. Besides the Catalan and Kurdish referendums —which we are dealing with in other articles— this week’s roundup looks to the pro-Asturian language movement, which is unveiling a campaign aimed at bringing the debate on the language’s official status to the Asturian Parliament. Another language-related issue, the conflict between Ukraine and several neighbouring states in relation to the new Education Act of Ukraine. A renewed pushed for Palestinian reunification is another of the topics included in the roundup.


Proyectu 2018” for official status for Asturian language unveiled. Driven by the Asturian Language Defense Board (XDLA), the proposal seeks an amendment to the Statute of Autonomy of Asturias. The amendment should declare Asturian and Galician-Asturian as official languages, alongside Spanish. The proposal is to be unveiled in Gijón, September 23. The XDLA says it has garnered support from different political parties, which according to the group could lead to the success of their proposal. Until now, Podemos and United Left have been the parties that have most clearly voiced support to official status for Asturian and Galician-Asturian. Foro Asturias party has taken ambiguous stances, while PP, FSA (PSOE) and C’s have opposed it. Within the FSA, however, a sector called Socialistes pola Oficialidá is seeking that the party accepts the goal of official status for Asturian and Galician-Asturian in the Congress to be held September 29.

100,000 to 450,000 people speak Asturian in Asturias, according to several accounts. The language is part of the larger Astur-Leonese linguistic group that extends to the provinces of León and Zamora and the region of Miranda, in Portugal. Galician-Asturian, or Eonaviego, is spoken in the western zone of Asturias, close to the Galician border. The Academy of the Asturian Language regards Galician-Asturian as a separate language; the Royal Galician Academy considers it a Galician variant.

Asturian has had since 1998 a limited degree of protection in Asturias, after the approval of the Law of use and promotion of Asturian. Pro-Asturian language civil society groups denounce that public administrations often fail to comply with the law, and complain that linguistic rights it grants are very limited in scope.


Hamas offers talks to explore Palestinian reunification. In a statement, the Islamist movement says it is willing to negotiate with Fatah the reunification of the Palestinian people under a single government. Fatah reacted by saying it is “a step in the right direction”. Earlier attempts to achieve reconciliation, however, have failed. Since 2007, Hamas has been controlling Gaza while the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has been ruling the West Bank.

Controversy over the new Education Act of Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin says he is ready to submit the legal text to the Council of Europe after criticism received from the governments of Russia, Hungary and Romania. The main point of friction is an article that specifies that national minorities will be able to study by the medium of their languages in nursery and primary schools only. The three countries aforementioned believe that this amounts to an excessive limitation and to a violation of linguistic rights of Russian, Hungarian and Romanian speakers. “We will not abandon [Ukraine’s] Hungarians,” the Hungarian Foreign ministry has said.

Aralar party walks towards self-dissolution. The Basque pro-independence party will hold its 7th Congress on December 2, its members expected to be presented a dissolution proposal from the board. Party leaders argue Aralar’s founding goals have already been fulfilled, President Patxi Zabaleta has said. The board is expected to propose to Aralar members to continue the work for the Basque independence as Euskal Herria Bildu members —the party alliance to which Aralar has been a member since 2012.