Rajoy’s Party Keeps Power in Galicia, but Separatists Surge in Basque Country. Elections to two regional autonomous parliaments within the Kingdom of Spain on October 21st provided good news and bad news for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey, whose austerity measures in the face of the European financial crisis has already pushed one autonomous region, Catalonia, to the brink of secession. In Galicia, Rajoy’s home region, in the northwest, his ruling People’s Party (P.P.) retained power, with 41 out 75 seats in the Galician parliament, but in the Basque Country, in north-central Spain, a new separatist coalition called Euskal Herria Bildu (E.H.B.) (translated as “Basque Country Gather” (is that an imperative, or a bad translation?)) has come in second behind the gradualist but still pro-independence Basque Nationalist Party (E.A.J.). E.H.B., with a quarter of the votes, now controls 21 of the Basque parliament’s 75 seats, while E.A.J. holds 27, putting separatists in the majority. [Related article: “The World’s 21 Sexiest Separatists,” featuring a profile of the Basque warrior Idoia López Riaño, a.k.a. la Tigresa.]
... Meanwhile, Is the Real Heir to the Spanish Throne a Catalan Bastard? Two courts in Spain this week rejected cases brought before them requesting permission to pursue paternity claims on the country’s monarch, King Juan Carlos I. The two claimants are Alberto Solà Jiménez, a waiter from northeastern Spain, and Ingrid Sartiau, a housewife from Ghent, in Belgium. (Ironically, both live in separatist regions—Catalonia and Flanders.) Solà is adopted but claims evidence that his birth mother had an affair with Juan Carlos, while Sartiau says she was conceived in Luxembourg in 1966 in a rendezvous between her mother and the future king, during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship—and also—ahem!—during Juan Carlos’s marriage to the current Queen Sofía (also true of Solà’s conception). Sartiau told reporters, “My mother told me who my father was while we were watching television. An image of Juan Carlos flashed up and she said, ‘That man’s your father.’” Genetic tests comparing the DNA of Solà and Sartiau concluded that there is a 91% chance they share one parent. The royal family has not commented on the matter, but the court this week cited a Spanish constitutional provision that “The person of the King is inviolable, and not subject to responsibility.” Solà is 56 years old and thus 12 years older than Juan Carlos’s only son, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, who is 44 years old and next in line to the throne. But a paternity test could not knock Felipe down a rung in the line of succession: illegitimate children are barred from the throne. Oh, well ... but there might be some money in it, no?
|Sartiau and Solà: spawn of royal Spanish seed?|
Catalan M.E.P.s Ask E.U. to Intervene If Spain Uses Force to Keep Catalonia Spanish. Four members of the European Parliament (M.E.P.s) representing Catalonia wrote to Vivian Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship, on October 22nd requesting European Union (E.U.) intervention should the Kingdom of Spain carry out threats to use military force if necessary to prevent a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia taking effect. (Read the letter here.) Rosa Díez González, a former centrist M.E.P. from the Basque Country called the letter an insult to Spanish democracy.
Spanish Police Nab Basque Police-Attack Suspect on French Extradition Order. Police in Irún, in north-central Spain near the French border, on October 19th arrested a suspected member of the disarmed and mostly disbanded Basque separatist army ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatusana, “Basque Homeland and Freedom”), in accordance with a 1995 extradition order from France. The suspect, José Ignacio Pérez Aramburu, was given a three-year prison sentence by a French court in absentia, for injuring several in a Molotov-cocktail attack on a police van.
|ETA, in more militant times. Love the berets, no?|
One thing you have to say about Basque terrorists, they can accessorize.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it in spring 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]