Basque Separatists Hand Over Power After 30 Years
After 30 years, separatists lose power in Spanish region
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 7:24 AM CDT
Patxi Lopez, the incoming Basque president, has been called a 'priority target' by the terrorist group ETA.   (AP Photo /Alvaro Barrientos)
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(Newser) – Security has been ramped up in the Basque region of Spain today as it prepares for the inauguration of its first non-separatist government in 30 years. Spain's national left- and right-wing parties have come together to form a unity coalition, ending decades of rule by Basque separatists. The terrorist group ETA has threatened the new government, reports the BBC, describing the incoming president as a "priority target."

Separatists have governed the Basque region since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s after the fall of Franco, but in March voters shifted their allegiances to Spain-wide parties. The incoming government has promised to beef up the police to rein in ETA, which has killed more than 820 people in its militant independence campaign. It has also promised to promote the Spanish language alongside Basque, which the separatists favor.