The Basques: Their Struggle for Independence

By Luis Núñez Astrain; Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

A DECADE OF SCHISM

In this rapid account of the Basque question and of officialdom's refusal to recognize it, we have already referred to the way in which the Franco regime was reformed, and we have now reached the legislative elections of 1982 which brought the PSOE to power in Madrid. One of the most significant events which occurred in the Basque Country after the return of the Socialists was doubtless the split in the most important of the Basque political parties, namely the PNV.


The split in the PNV

Throughout the history of the Basque Nationalist Party there have been differences of opinion between the Nationalist wing and the Regionalist, and this tension has contributed to schism within its ranks. The most recent example was the expulsion of the party's branch in Bermeo in Vizcaya, which happened in 1980. Those who were expelled were known as 'los sabinianos' on account of their doctrinal allegiance to the founder of Basque Nationalism, Sabino Arana. But the most serious schism took place a few years later, in 1986.

In May 1984 most of the leading active members of the PNV in Navarra were expelled for not carrying out an order to lend their support to the Spanish Right in the province; the order applied to an area much bigger than Navarra. As a result of these differences, the President of the Vitoria Government, Carlos Garaikoetxea, was sacked and replaced by José Antonio Ardanza. Early in January 1985, when there was mounting tension within the PNV in Navarra, the party's conference in Guipuzcoa withdrew its support for the office in the province and replaced it with another which was more critical of the leadership. In the same month a new Government was elected in Vitoria, made up of members from the PSOE and a

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