The Basque regional election campaign officially kicks off today, although the “unofficial” campaign has been raging on for weeks now, ever since Basque President Ibarretxe appeared before the Spanish Congress to explain his plan for a more autonomous Basque government.
Political commentators in Spain see this as a crucial election because the result will be the first real measure of the degree of support among Basque voters for the Plan Ibarretxe (as it is known here). If he wins a significant majority, Ibarretxe will feel further vindicated in his crusade to push his plan forward, despite the fact that the Spanish courts and parliament have ruled out as inconstitutional. And the Spanish government will feel under increased pressure to start constructive talks with the new PNV government (again, if Ibarretxe wins a significant majority) towards finding a solution which is politically acceptable both in Spain and in the Basque Region.
According to the results of a survey published by Cadena Ser this morning, the present Basque government would get a 45-percent overall majority with the two coalition partners (PNV and EA) winning 38-39 seats in the regional parliament.
The Basque wing of the Socialist party would win 21 percent (17-18 seats), an increase of three points with respect to the last elections in the Basque Region, and the Popular Party 17 percent (13-14 seats), 6 points less than in the last elections.
Five percent of the Basques who participated in the survey said they would vote for Aukera Guztiak, the party illegalised by the Spanish Supreme Courts earlier this week because of alleged links to the armed separatist group ETA or to ETA’s political wing, the illegalised party Batasuna. The fact that they have been prevented of voting for the party of their choice will presumably favour the nationalist PNV and EA parties even further.