Basque Nationalist Party

Template:Politics of Spain Template:Mergefrom The Basque Nationalist Party is a political party in the Basque region of Spain. In Basque it is called Eusko Alderdi Jeltzalea (EAJ) and in Spanish it is called the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV). In Spain it is commonly referred to as EAJ-PNV. The French branch is the Parti Nationaliste Basque. The party also has offices among the Basque diaspora, mainly Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and the United States.

The party was founded in 1895 by Sabino de Arana y Goiri as a Catholic separatist racist party agitating for the restoration of self-government. Currently, it describes itself as Basque, democratic, participatory, plural, non-confessional and humanist. It is a moderate nationalist party which favours greater autonomy for the Basque region but opposes violence.

In its beginnings, the party established a requirement for its members to prove Basque ancestry by having a minimum number of Basque surnames.

In 1921, the Arana movement split into the moderate Comunin Nacionalista Vasca ("Basque Nationalist Communion") and the independentist Aberri ("Homeland").

During the single-party dictatorship rule of general Miguel Primo de Rivera, the nationalist parties were outlawed and persecuted. However, its activity continued under the guise of mountain (mendigoizale) and folklore clubs.

At the end of 1930, Aberri and CNV reunited under the old name of EAJ-PNV. However, a small group formed Accin Nacionalista Vasca ("Basque Nationalist Action"). It was on the moderate nationalist left, non-confessional and open to alliances with the republican and socialist parties fighting against the dictatorship.


The Second Spanish Republic


The division between autonomism and independentism appeared again during the second Spanish Republic. Headed by Eli Gallastegi, a small group of radical independentists, gathered around the weekly Jagi-Jagi and the Mountaineer Federation of Biscay, left the party. They rejected the autonomy that PNV was working for.

The Spanish civil war and Franco's rule

After the coup of 18th July 1936, the party felt torn. It shared the rebel side's Catholicism and there was pressure from the Vatican to keep away from the Republic, but the promised autonomy and anti-Fascism led them to side with the legitimate republican government:

  • The Biscayne and Guipuzcoan branches, the more important in number, declared support for the republic, democracy and anti-Fascism in the ensuing Spanish Civil War.
  • In the territory seized by the rebels, PNV members faced tough times:
    • The Alavese and Navarrese committees published notes refusing support to the Republic.
    • Some nationalists could flee to France or the Republican area.
    • Some faced the rebel forces, ending in prison or shot.
    • Some joined the Carlist batallions, either out of conviction or to avoid attacks.
    • The repression was focused on leftists, but nationalists were also targeted. The party premises and press were closed in that month of July.

Initially, the Defence Committees in Biscay and Guipuzcoa were dominated by the Popular Front. Although with enough difficulties, Basque autonomy was granted within the Second Spanish Republic and the new Basque Government inmediately organized the Basque Army, consisting of militias recruited by each of the political organizations, including PNV.

Jos Antonio Aguirre, the party leader, became the first lendakari (Basque president) of the wartime multipartite Basque Government, ruling the unconquered parts of Biscay and Guipuzcoa. After the surrendering of the Basque Army to the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontari in Santoa (1937), the exile government moved to Barcelona until the fall of Catalonia and then out of Spain to the exile, first to France where they organized the camps and services with the president heading it personally. He was in Belgium when Hitler occupied that country and so he started a long travel to Berlin under a false identity. Under the protection of a Panamanian ambassador, he got to reach Sweden and dodging the SS German intelligency, he arrived to Brazil and Uruguay, where his dignity was reinstated and given visa to New York, where he stablished under the protection of American-Basques as teacher of Columbia University. When the United States decided to back Franco in 1952 he went to France anew where the Basque Government in exile was established. Also, he learned there that the pro-Nazi French government of Vichy confiscated the Basque Government's building and that De Gaulle maintained it under the Franco government's possession, a building that today is ironically the Instituto Cervantes premises. Anyway, the president of the government in exile was always a PNV member and even the sole Spanish representative in the United Nations was the Basque appointee Jess de Galndez until his murder in an obscure episode at the time of Spanish entry into the United Nations. He also decided to put the large Basque exiles' network at the service of the Allied side and collaborated with the US Secretary of State and the CIA during the Cold War to fight Communism in Spanish America.

Recent years

ETA was created by members of the Basque Nationalist Party in 1959.

To date, PNV has dominated in every administration of the Basque government, although the socialist Ramn Rubial started being head of the Basque General Council until the first autonomous elections.

It was a founder part of the Christian Democrat International. Now the party has joined the recently formed European Democratic Party, with the French Union pour la Dmocratie Franaise, the former European officer Romano Prodi and other parties.

Position in recent referenda

PNV called for:

  • Abstention in the Referendum for Spanish Constitution in 1978.
  • Yes to permanence of Spain in the NATO in 1986. PNV called to vote Bai, (Yes in Basque language) even though electoral rules were to count only votes in Spanish, while votes in other languages would count as void. On the last week of the campaign, Spanish administration changed the rules so as to count votes in the co-official languages of Spain. The Yes won the vote in Spain, but the No was the first choice among the electors of the Basque Auntonomous Community.
  • Yes to the European Constitution proposal in the referenda held in Spain in 21st February, 2005.

See also

External links

ca:Partit Nacionalista Basc de:Eusko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco es:Partido Nacionalista Vasco eu:EAJ fr:Parti nationaliste basque


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