Court repeals election ban on Basque group

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A ruling that barred a Basque coalition from taking part in forthcoming local elections on the grounds that some of its candidates are linked to the outlawed political wing of the armed separatist group Eta has been overturned.

Spain's highest court, the Constitutional Court, voted 6-5 yesterday to let the Bildu coalition field candidates in the elections on 22 May. The court did not state why it was overturning a decision announced on Monday by the Supreme Court.

Bildu is a new alliance comprising two mainstream parties and independent candidates. The government argued that some of the independents were fronts for Eta's banned political wing, Batasuna.

The Constitutional Court ruling appears to be good news for Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister, whose minority government relies on support from the Basque Nationalist Party.