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President of Spain's Basque Region Re-elected


Juan Jose Ibarretxe
Moderate nationalist Juan Jose Ibarretxe held off a strong challenge Thursday from socialist Patxi Lopez in the 75-member Basque regional legislature.

Mr. Ibarretxe was chosen for another four-year term with 34 votes, one vote more than Mr. Lopez.

A stalemate between the two was broken when two of nine lawmakers from the pro-independence Communist Party of the Basque Lands voted for Mr. Ibarretxe. The other seven abstained.

The communist party is endorsed by Batasuna, the outlawed group considered the political wing of the armed separatist group ETA.

Batasuna was barred from running in the April elections. It told its supporters to vote for the communists instead because the party shares the goal of an independent Basque state.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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