the Imanol Pradales (R), is standing for the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) in the upcoming regional election. (EPA/LUIS TEJIDO


Polls predict win for Basque separatists in regional election


Spanish separatist parties in the Basque Country, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and EH Bildu, are set to win the largest share of seats in the upcoming regional Parliament election, according to the latest polls.

The ruling centre-right-wing separatist PNV and its candidate Imanol Pradales is expected to take 37 per cent of the vote in the elections over the weekend of April 20, although that would be down by about 2 per cent on its results from the 2020 regional contest.

The PNV will likely maintain its status as the largest force in the Parliament but with a slightly weaker representation. Polls predict the party will lose at least three seats in the 75-member Chamber.

The left-wing separatist EH Bildu party is expected to gain between 34 and 35 per cent of the vote. That would translate into 30 seats in the Chamber.

The Socialist Party, and the centre-right Partido Popular (PP) would follow the two separatist forces with 13 and 8 per cent of the share of the vote, respectively.

With a predicted 1.94 per cent of the vote, the Conservative party VOX, whose national leader Santiago Abascal is of Basque origins, might lose its one seat in the Basque Parliament, falling one point short of the required 3 per cent threshold to secure representation.

The progressive party SUMAR, part of the national governing coalition, is expected to gain its first seat in the Parliament.

Basque separatism has a long and tense history marred by the activities of the now disbanded separatist terrorist organisation Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA).

For last year’s general elections, Bildu included convicted ETA members in its lists for the national Parliament.

In December, the Socialist Party in Pamplona voted to oust the mayor of the city in favour of a new Bildu mayor.

At the national level, the separatist forces have become crucial partners for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The Basques, Catalan and Galician separatist parties supported his bid to become premier in November last year.

The leader of the Socialist Party in the Basque Country, Eneko Andueza, dismissed fears, saying that “in no case the [party] would make a Bildu candidate the president of the Basque Country.”

Over the past year, separatist forces have been making large gains in territorial contests around Spain.

In February, The Galician Nationalist Bloc increased its representation by more than 30 per cent in the regional Parliament there.

In the upcoming snap election in Catalonia, polls give the two largest separatist parties – former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya and current acting President Pere Aragonès’ Esquerra Republicana – a 38 per cent share of that regional Chamber.

The candidates of the Basque Country regional election are set to take part in a televised debate on the evening of April 16.