SEVEN former ETA terrorists, all convicted for their involvement in murders, announced on Tuesday that they were withdrawing their names from standing in Basque Country elections on May 28.
It still means that 37 convicted terrorists will be running for office.
Their withdrawal came after Monday’s call from leader of the conservative Partido Popular, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, for socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez to break ties with the Basque Country’s EH Bildu party which the former ETA men were standing for.
The EH Bildu party often supports the minority left-wing coalition government of Sanchez’s PSOE socialists and the Unidas Podemos party.
The Olive Press reported on Monday that Nuñez Feijoo demanded an investigation from the solicitor general’s office to see whether there was a legal route to stopping ‘these’ candidates from running at the elections.
Tuesday’s withdrawal of the seven EH Bildu candidates saw them give a statement to the Basque newspaper Naiz.
They said they were withdrawing their candidacies ‘so that neither our words nor our actions will add the slightest suffering to what has already happened.’
The announcement that they were running for office in the upcoming elections had been met with horror by the families of many victims.
All seven were convicted for direct assassinations or having aided in murders while they belonged to the Basque nationalist group that killed nearly 900 people between 1961 and 2010.
In their statement, they insisted that EH Bildu was not ‘aiming to legitimize ETA’.
“We believe EH Bildu was founded in different times as an instrument to achieve sovereignty, peace and freedom, to build a better country. And that is our commitment too,” said the seven politicians.
Partido Popular leader, Nuñez Feijoo reponded: “Democracy, dignity and decency have triumphed despite Pedro Sanchez, who chose to leave Spaniards alone. We have taken the first step. Now let’s take the next.”
Meanwhile, Ione Belarra, head of the left-wing Unidas Podemos, called the move ‘an important step’, but also accused conservative parties of manipulating past suffering to win votes in elections.
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