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Basque Party May Quit Parliament

September 9, 2000

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The political party linked to the armed ETA Basque separatist group plans to leave the Basque parliament, its leaders proposed Saturday at the party’s Assembly in the northern town of Durango.

Euskal Herritarrok spokesman Arnaldo Otegi said Saturday that the Basque parliament supports only the status quo of Basque autonomy under the Spanish constitution rather than the party’s goal of working toward independence.

The 75-seat Basque parliament, a regional legislature, has a high degree of autonomy from the Spanish government.

``We are not going to work in this parliament that mainly wants to stabilize the territorial division,″ Otegi said adding that a final decision is now in the hands of the militants of Euskal Herritarrok, or EH, that will either ratify or reject the proposal in the coming days.

The Basque president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe from the moderate Basque Nationalist Party appealed for calm and said that EH’s move, which will strip him of a majority in parliament, ``won’t represent a problem for the government as we don’t have agreements with the radical coalition.″

EH currently holds 14 seats the parliament and is strongly represented in many Basque city and town councils.

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