Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will meet with the leader of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Iñigo Urkullu, on Wednesday to discuss the new political scenario unfolding after ETA announced a definitive end to violence last Thursday.
Urkullu held talks with the Socialist premier of the Basque Country, Patxi López, on Monday in an attempt to consolidate a lasting blueprint to bring to an end the cycle of terrorism in the region. Chief among Urkullu's proposals in the short term is the relocation of ETA prisoners to jails in the Basque Country, a concession the abertzale left has long been pushing the government to examine.
López, who has initiated a round table of meetings with Basque parties, including the pro-separatist platform Bildu, expressed his willingness to work with the victors of the general elections in the "resocialization of prisoners."
- Socialists and opposition downplay role of peace process at the polls
- ETA took peace decision after Bildu's electoral success in May
- The final truce: why and how we at last got to this point
- ETA announces end to violence
- Zapatero rules out concessions for ETA inmates before elections
- Basque parties fail to unite in declaration against ETA
Also on the agenda is a review of the so-called Parot Doctrine (by which ETA inmates have their sentences lengthened as parole is applied to individual jail terms even when sentences are being served concurrently) and a reform to the Political Parties Law. The PNV leader also mooted the possibility of bringing the 2013 regional elections forward so the abertzale can have representation in the Basque parliament, a move Urkullu said would be one "toward political normalization."
Although the Socialist government has sole responsibility over ETA inmates, Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy will likely be appraised of any moves toward further concessions. "There is nobody who cannot feel joy [over ETA's declaration]," Rajoy said in an interview with Cadena Cope radio, adding he would never negotiate with the group.