Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's My Government And I'll Meet Who I Want To

Juan José Ibarretxe, the “lehendekari” (president) of the Basque regional government had to go to court yesterday to justify his decision to have meetings with Batasuna, the political wing of ETA. It is yet another example of the courts mixing politics and justice, Batasuna is an illegal organisation and there are judges who interpret this as meaning that it is for them to decide whether it is possible for anyone to talk to their leaders. All of this is a bit strange given the decision not so long ago by a higher tribunal that a meeting between Batasuna and the Basque section of the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) was perfectly legal , and that it was not the role of the courts to decide such things.

Anyway, Ibarretxe made it clear to the court that he considered it to be his prerogative to decide on these matters, and that he would continue to organise such meetings if he thought it was useful to do so. His party, the conservative nationalists of the PNV, brought thousands of their supporters onto the streets on Monday to protest about the court’s decision to summon their leader. This is in turn provoked a predictably strong response from the Partido Popular, who accused the marchers of putting pressure on the courts. This is a bit rich coming from a party that has shown no reticence when it comes to criticising judges who don’t do what they want them to do.

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