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The Political statute of the Community of the Basque Country, more known as Ibarretxe Plan was a proposal by former lehendakari Juan Jose Ibarretxe to radically alter the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country proposing a free association of the Basque Country with Spain on an equal footing, and that including a right to self-determination.
Forging and demise
The plan was announced by the former lehendakari (Basque region President) Juan Jose Ibarretxe in September 2001 before the Basque parliament's plenary of general politics but the actual contents of the proposal were not been made public until July 2003, after being leaked to the press. It was officially presented on October 25, 2003. The Basque Parliament's plenary approved it on 30 December 2004 by a narrow margin of 39 votes in favour against 35 opposed.
Since it would have radically affected the content of the current Spanish Constitution, the proposal was sent to the Spanish Parliament in January 2005 to be debated and voted upon, being rejected on February 1 with 313 votes against (PSOE, PP, IU, Canarian Coalition and CHA), 29 votes in favour (PNV, ERC, CiU, EA, Na-Bai and BNG) and 2 abstentions (IC-V).
Under the plan, the two million people in this northern region would remain Spanish citizens but divided into two overlapping categories of Basques, defined as "citizens" and "nationals".
The plan provided for the Basque regional government's right to call referendums, opening the door to a possible future vote on independence, while removing a Spanish government right to suspend the regional government's powers.
The Spanish Government, led by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and leading Spanish academics viewed the Ibarretxe Plan as contrary to the Spanish Constitution, this view being shared by the main opposition party Partido Popular.
The European Parliament refused to have anything to do with the plan, saying that it was a Spanish internal issue.
Two years after the proposal was discarded, Ibarretxe proposed a similar initiative under a referendum-like vote.
- POLITICAL STATUTE OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY English version
- POLITICAL STATUTE OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY Spanish