Big Happenings in Euskal Herria

This past week, there have been two major events in the Basque Country.

First, on Sunday, March 1, elections where held in the Basque Country (as well as other parts of Spain) for the Basque Parliament, the body that governs in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) comprised of Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Araba.  Since the formation of the BAC shortly after Franco’s death, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV-EAJ) has held power in the Parliament.  On Sunday, while they still won more seats than any other party, they didn’t capture a majority.  What’s more, a combination of parties that are not Basque nationalist in outlook, including the PSE-EE and PP, do hold a majority, and could elect the first non-nationalist, non-PNV-EAJ lehendakari (president) of the BAC since it’s formation.  What this will mean for a number of Basque-related issues is unclear, including language policy, the proposed referendum for self-determination, and so forth.  What is clear is that things will be different in the BAC in the future.  There is a lot of talk about what this means for the future of the BAC; see here, here or here.

Second, Athletic Bilbao, the only team in all of the European primer leagues to not hire foreign players, won their match against Sevilla 3-0, putting the team in the Copa del Rey final on May 13, where they will play Barcelona.  This is the first time since 1985 that Athletic Bilbao will be in the Spanish championship (they last won it in 1984).  Barca last won in 1998 and holds 24 total Copa del Rey championships.  Bilbao holds 23 or 24, depending on how you count.  So, the winner of this final, again depending on how you count, could be the holder of the most Copa del Rey championships ever.  The next couple of months will be very exciting.  For more details about the match between Bilbao and Sevilla, see, for example, this article or this one. Aupa Athletic!

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