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Banning political parties ‘a mistake’

4 February, 2008


Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader John O'Dowd MLA speaking at a joint press conference with Basque EHAK MP Kattallin de Madariaga has said that banning political parties is a mistake and that every effort should be made to encourage dialogue between all of the parties in the Basque County and the Spanish government.

The Basque Batasuna party has already been banned. Mr O'Dowd's comments come amid moves by the Spanish administration to ban two other parties EHAK and ANV. This would bar them from running candidates in the Spanish general election scheduled for March 9.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Sinn Féin has argued the need to revive the Basque Peace Process. The banning of Batasuna and jailing of political representatives including democratically elected representatives is an impediment to this.

"We are now concerned that the Spanish administration has begun the process of banning EHAK and ANV. This would also bar them from running candidates in the Spanish general election scheduled for March 9.

"This will further impede any search for forward progress, which requires that every effort be made to improve and encourage dialogue between all of the parties in the Basque County and the Spanish government.

"It is clear that political resolution is required. It is clear that the methods used to date will not secure that. A Peace Process is required." ENDS

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