Basque Nationalist Party

Published 2nd November, 2011

The Basque Nationalist Party or EAJ are also known as the Partido Nacionalista Vasco or PNV. They were founded in 1895 and are opposed to the terrorist campaign conducted by ETA. The describe themselves as centre and believe in Basque nationalism and Christian democracy.

The EAJ grew out of the Basque Catholic traditionalist movement and in 1918 they returned seven deputies to the Spanish parliament. That grew to 12 in 1933 and dropped to nine in 1936. The party was outlawed during the Franco period and many of its leaders were exiled.

In the 1977 general election the EAJ won seven seats in the 350 seat Congress of Deputies. In 1979 they dropped one seat to take six seats. But in the 1980 elections for the new Basque Parliament they won 37.6% of the vote and 25 of the 60 seats. They went on to rule the Basque parliament until 2009.

In 1982 the EAJ took eight seats in the Congress of Deputies but this dropped to six seats in 1986. In 1989, 1993 and 1996 their representation in the Congress of Deputies remained at five seats. In the 2000 and 2004 elections they took seven seats each time and in 2008 they dropped back to six seats.

The Basque Nationalist Party are members of the European Democratic Party and in the European Parliament their one MEP is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

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