Basque Nationalist Party

Basque Nationalist Party

party_name = Basque Nationalist Party EAJ-PNV
party_name_basque = Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea
colorcode = #808080
leader = Iñigo Urkullu
foundation = 1895
ideology = Basque nationalism, Christian democracy | headquarters = Sabin Etxea, Ibáñez de Bilbao,16 -Bilbao
colours = White, Red, Green
members = 32,000
european = European Democratic Party
european parliament group = Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
international = Alliance of Democrats
website = []
The Basque Nationalist Party is the largest political party in the Basque Autonomous Community. It led Basque regional government under the Spanish Second Republic and has done so again during the democratic decades following the rule of Francisco Franco.

In Basque it is called Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea (EAJ) (literally meaning 'basque party of friends of God and Old Laws', or Fuero) and in Spanish it is called the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV). In Spain it is commonly referred to as EAJ-PNV. The French branch is the Parti Nationaliste Basque (EAJ-PNB).The current chairman of the EBB of EAJ-PNV is Iñigo Urkullu. It is also member of the coalition Nafarroa Bai.

The youth wing of the Basque Nationalist Party is called EGI (Euzko Gaztedi Indarra, "Basque Youth Force").

The party also has offices among the Basque diaspora, mainly in Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and the United States.

Origins and early history

The party was founded in 1895 by Sabino de Arana y Goiri as a Catholic conservative, party agitating for the restoration of self-government and the defense of the "Basque race". Currently, it describes itself as Basque, democratic, participatory, plural, and humanist. It is a moderate nationalist party which favours greater , if not independence itself, for the Basque region. EAJ-PNV opposes political violence.

In its beginnings, the party established a requirement for its members to prove Basque ancestry by having a minimum number of Basque surnames.

In 1921, the Arana movement split into the moderate "Comunión Nacionalista Vasca" ("Basque Nationalist Communion") and the independentist "Aberri" ("Homeland").

During the single party dictatorship rule of general Miguel Primo de Rivera, the nationalist parties were outlawed and persecuted.However, its activity continued under the guise of mountain ("mendigoizale") and folklore clubs.

At the end of 1930, "Aberri" and "CNV" reunited under the old name of EAJ-PNV.However, a small group formed "Acción Nacionalista Vasca" ("Basque Nationalist Action").It was on the moderate nationalist left, non-confessional and open to alliances with the republican and socialist parties fighting against the dictatorship.

The Second Spanish Republic


The division between autonomism and independentism appeared again during the second Spanish Republic.Headed by Eli Gallastegi, a small group of radical independentists, gathered around the weekly "Jagi-Jagi" and the Mountaineer Federation of Biscay, left the party.They rejected the autonomy that PNV was working for.

The Spanish civil war and Franco's rule

After the coup d'état of 18 July 1936, the party felt torn.It shared the rebel side's Catholicism and there was pressure from the Vatican to keep away from the Republic, but the promised autonomy and their anti-Fascism ideology led them to side with the legitimate republican government:
* The Biscayne and Guipuzcoan branches, the more important in number, declared support for the Republic, Democracy and anti-Fascism in the ensuing Spanish Civil War and were key in balancing those provinces to the Republican side.
* In the territory seized by the rebels, PNV members faced tough times:
** Some members of the Alavese and Navarrese committees, without an oficial decision, published notes refusing support to the Republic.
** Some nationalists could flee to France or the Republican area.
** Some faced the rebel forces, ending in prison or shot.
** Some joined the Carlist battalions, either out of conviction or to avoid attacks.
** The repression was focused on leftists, but nationalists were also targeted. The party premises and press were closed in that month of July.

Initially, the Defence Committees in Biscay and Guipuzcoa were dominated by the Popular Front. Although with enough difficulties, Basque autonomy was granted within the Second Spanish Republic and the new Basque Government immediately organized the Basque Army, consisting of militias recruited by each of the political organizations, including PNV.

José Antonio Aguirre, the party leader, became in october 1936 the first "lendakari" (Basque president) of the wartime multipartite Basque Government, ruling the unconquered parts of Biscay and Guipuzcoa. When Bilbao, the most populated town in the Basque Country, was taken by Franco's troops the basque nationalists decided to keep untouched all the heavy industries of Bilbao, dedicated to iron and machinery, thinking that they had the responsability of securing the prosperity of their people in the future. This decision made available to the fascist rebels that important industry.In July 1937, having lost all the Basque territory the Basque army retreated towards Santander. Out of their land and without help from the Republic the Basque Army surrendered to the Italian "Corpo Truppe Volontari" through the so-called Santoña Agreement. The heads of the EAJ-PNV stayed with the soldiers to follow their men's same fate. Prison and executions ordered by the fascists followed. The 'basque government in exile' then moved to Barcelona until the fall of Catalonia and then out of Spain to the exile, first to France where they organized the camps and services with the president heading it personally. He was in Belgium when Hitler occupied that country and so he started a long travel to Berlin under a false identity.

Under the protection of a Panamanian ambassador, he got to reach Sweden and dodging the SS German intelligence, he arrived to Brazil and Uruguay, where his dignity was reinstated and given visa to New York, where he stablished under the protection of American-Basques as teacher of Columbia University.

When the United States decided to back Franco in 1952 he went to France anew where the Basque Government in exile was established. Also, he learned there that the pro-Nazi French government of Vichy confiscated the Basque Government's building and that the anti-Nazi De Gaulle maintained it as an Spanish Government's possession, given that the Basque Government has never had any international consideration other than representatives of a region in Spain at most. The building today is the Instituto Cervantes premises where french people can learn any of the spanish languages, including basque. Anyway, the president of the Basque Government in exile was always a PNV member and even the sole Spanish representative in the United Nations was the Basque appointee Jesús de Galíndez until his murder in an obscure episode regarding his PhD Thesis about Dominican Republic's dictator Trujillo. He also decided to put the large Basque exiles' network at the service of the Allied side and collaborated with the US Secretary of State and the CIA during the Cold War to fight Communism in Spanish America.

Recent years

ETA was created by members of the Basque Nationalist Party in 1958 who were dissatisfied by the Party's supposedly moderate policies. But soon after, in the 1960s, Marxists took control of the breakaway movement in order to open a front against the "capitalist" state of Spain. The aim was to use the nationalist feeling of the Basque people to confront them against Madrid and destabilize thus Spain.

To date, PNV has dominated in every administration of the Basque government.

It was a founder part of the Christian Democrat International, but now the party is an active member of the European Democratic Party, with the French "Union pour la Démocratie Française", the Italian Democratic Party, etc.

In 1987, dissenters from the party formed the rival "Eusko Alkartasuna" ("Basque Solidarity") Carlos Garaikoetxea was then elected as the first president of the rival party.

The split from the PNV was based on:
* A personality clash between the lehendakari Garaikoetxea, who went to form Eusko Alkartasuna (EA), and the PNV leader Xabier Arzalluz.
* The configuration of the Basque Country:
** A strong Basque government and weak provinces (EA).
** Strong provinces (PNV).
* social-democratic (EA) / christian-democratic (PNV)

The split was particularly bitter given the fact that it was headed by the lehendakari himself.Many PNV political bars ("batzoki", "meeting place") became "alkartetxe" ("mutual house").

Since 1991, as time has eased the bitter split (helped by the fact that both Arzalluz and Garaikoetxea have gone into political retirement), both parties agreed to form an electoral coalition in a number of local elections as a means to maximalize the nationalist votes, which eventually led to reunite both candidatures in a joint list again for the regional governments of Navarra and the Basque Autonomous Community in 1998. Thus, EA has participated in several PNV-led Basque governments, including the current one of President Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu. Still, EA decided to run by itself in the past municipal elections held in May 2007.

In Navarre, EA and PNV formed the coalition "Nafarroa Bai" along with ARALAR and BATZARRE.

President Juan José Ibarretxe has spearheaded a call for the reform of the Statute of Autonomy that governs the Basque Country Autonomous Community, through a proposal widely known as the Ibarretxe Plan which was rejected by the Cortes Generales.

Position in recent referendums

PNV called for:
* Abstention in the Referendum for Spanish Constitution in 1978.
* Gave freedom to vote yes or no to permanence of Spain in the NATO in 1986. The Yes won the vote in Spain, but the No was the first choice among the electors of the Basque Country.
* Yes to the European Constitution proposal in the referendum held in Spain in 21 February, 2005; and supported the Lisbon Treaty in the Spanish Cortes Generales.

Presidents of the Basque Nationalist Party since 1895

Note: The National Council of the Basque Nationalist Party ("Euzkadi-Buru-Batzar") was created in 1911. Therefore, Sabino Arana and Ángel Zabala were only presidents of the Regional Council of Biscay ("Bizkai-Buru-Batzar")
*1895-1903 Sabino de Arana y Goiri
*1903-1906 Ángel Zabala Ozamiz
*1906-1908 Deputation formed by Santiago Alda, Alipio Larrauri, Antonio Arroyo, Vicente Larrinaga and Eduardo Arriaga.
*1911?-1916 Luis de Arana y Goiri
*1916-1920 Ramón Bikuña
*1920-1930 Ignacio Rotaeche (Comunión Nacionalista Vasca)
*1922-1930 Luis de Arana y Goiri (Aberri)
*1930 Ceferino de Jemein (Aberri)
*1931-1932 Ramón Bikuña
*1932-1933 Luis de Arana y Goiri
*1933-1934 Jesús Doxandabaratz
*1934-1935 Isaac López Mendizábal
*1935-1951 Doroteo Ciáurriz
*1951-1953 Juan Ajuriaguerra
*1957-1962 José Aguerre
*1975-1977 Ignacio Unceta
*1977-1980 Carlos Garaikoetxea
*1980-1984 Xabier Arzalluz
*1984-1985 Román Sudupe
*1985-1986 Jesús Insausti
*1986-2004 Xabier Arzalluz
*2004-2008 Josu Jon Imaz
*2008- Iñigo Urkullu


JeL ("Jaungoikoa eta Lagi-zaŕa", "God and the old law" in Basque, "Lege-zaharra" in Standard Basque) is themotto of the party.The "old laws" referred to are the fueros, the traditional laws of the Basque provinces, observed by the kings of Castille, and later Spain, until the Carlist Wars.The motto of Basque Carlists was "Dios, patria, fueros, rey" ("God, Country, Fueros, king").Many nationalists came from a Carlist background.As the mottos show, the nationalists rejected the support to Carlist pretenders and considered their "country" the Basque Country instead of Spain.

JEL is the origin of "jelkide" ("JEL-companion", EAJ-PNV member) and "jeltzale" ("JEL-follower", as in the gloss of EAJ, "Eusko Alderdi Jeltzalea").

Alderdi Eguna

Alderdi Eguna ("Party Day") is the national holiday of the Basque Nationalist Party which is annually celebrated on the last Sunday of September, the Sunday closest to the feast day of Saint Michael, the patron saint of Euskal Herria and of the Basque Nationalist Party.

The central act of this celebration is a political meeting of leading nationalists, but the celebration begins in the morning with a traditional festival in which the different municipal organizations from the party set up stands to sell drinks and their more typical products, all brightened up by traditional music. Dances and traditional sports are also enjoyed. The celebration takes place in an open air arena (currently in Foronda, Álava), and lasts until nightfall.

See also

* European Democratic Party
* Euzkadi
* Basque nationalism
* Nafarroa Bai

External links

* [ EAJ-PNV page in English] es iconeu iconen icon
* [ EGI, youth movement of EAJ-PNV] eu icon
* [ Basque Nationalism Museum] es iconeu icon en icon
* [ The cradle of Basque nationalism]
* [ Manifiesto y Organización del Partido Nacionalista Vasco] , PNV's internal rules from 1906. As heavy scanned JPEG images of Spanish text. es icon

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