[JURIST] A senior Spanish official said Friday that Spanish authorities have initiated legal proceedings to ban two Basque political parties for ties to ETA [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the armed Basque separatist movement. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega [official website, in Spanish; backgrounder] said the government has evidence that both the Basque Nationalist Action Party (ANV) [party website] and the Communist Party of the Basque Lands (PCTV) [Wikipedia backgrounder] have close ties to Batasuna [BBC backgrounder], ETA's banned political arm. The government wants to prevent the parties from fielding candidates for a general election schedule for March.
The Supreme Court of Spain [official website, in Spanish] banned Batasuna in 2003 for its refusal to cut ties with ETA. ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in bombings and attacks since the 1960s.