Political normalization after ETA cessation puts sovereignist parties in two top places of Basque Chamber

Centre-right EAJ-PNV set to form minority government; party leader Urkullu calls for a "new political status" for Euskadi agreed with Spain · Pro-independence left EH Bildu becomes main opposition party after being barred from 2009 election · Spanish parties get worst results since 1990

Having been forbidden to participate in 2009 election, a pro-independence abertzale left alliance of parties reached yesterday his best result ever as one single political list of candidates by placing itself as the second most voted option in the elections to the Parliament of Euskadi. EH Bildu was second to the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV), centre-right sovereignist party that is now best placed to form a minority government under his leader, Iñigo Urkullu (left picture), who is set to succeed Patxi López as the new Basque president.

EAJ-PNV won yesterday 34,6% of the popular vote and 27 seats, three down from 2009 election. Although members of EAJ-PNV hailed yesterday victory chanting "independence, independence!", Urkullu has taken a moderate stance and has repeatedly stated that he will seek "a new political status" for Euskadi by means of an agreement with the Spanish government. He recalled yesterday that he is opposed to "unilateral reforms and recentralization processes".

For the first time since 1980, the main opposition party to EAJ-PNV will be the Basque pro-independence left coalition EH Bildu, made up of abertzale left single members plus Aralar, Eusko Alkartasuna and Alternatiba parties. EH Bildu got 25% of the votes and 21 MPs. In 2009 Aralar had obtained four seats and Eusko Alkartasuna, one. EH Bildu candidate Laura Mintegi (right picture) said the alliance's result was "excellent" and that they were ready to cooperate with EAJ-PNV to advance towards building Basque self-government.

The result by EH Bildu gives a better picture of the political will of the Basques in Euskadi, since 2012 election has been held one year after militant organization ETA decided to cease its armed activity. Spanish parties had always said that the existence of ETA frightened people who wanted to vote for PP and PSOE; yesterday's election seems to deny this theory, since Basque nationalist parties now hold the two top places in Euskadi and in each one of its three historical territories (EAJ-PNV first place in Bizkaia and Araba and second in Gipuzkoa; EH Bildu first place in Gipuzkoa and second in Bizkaia and Araba).

Spanish parties: worst result since 1990

On their hand, Spanish political parties got their worst result since 1990. The Socialist Party (PSOE) only secured 19% of the votes and 16 seats (down from 25 in 2009) and thus lost any option to form a government. The result by Spanish conservative Popular Party (PP) was even worse, with 11,7% of the votes and 10 seats (three less than in 2009). Staunchly Spanish nationalist Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) kept the only seat they already had won three years ago.