Otegi reinforces its alliance with the BNG by appointing Barrena, convicted of terrorism, to head Bildu in the Eurochamber


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The nationalist left will place Pernando Barrena in a new electoral coalition with ERC and the BNG that, as happened in 2019, will allow him to have a presence in the European Parliament. The Bildu management headed by Arnaldo Otegi has decided to consolidate Barrena as its ‘international ambassador’ despite his status as a condemner for belonging to ETA and as a former leader since 1998 of Herri Batasuna, the political group banned in 2003 for being an instrument of the terrorist organization.

The designation of Pernando Barrena as a candidate endorses the prominence of former ETA members such as David Pla, Antn Ruiz ‘Kubati’ and Elena Beloki within EH Bildu along with historical figures of the Abertzale left also convicted for their links with terrorism such as Arnaldo Otegi and Pernando Auger. A duo of pro-independence leaders who since 1998 assumed the leadership in Herri Batasuna, first, in Batasuna, then and at the head of Sortu from 2012. Barrena exhausted the European legislature as an advisor to the Galician MEP of the BNG Ana Miranda. The two were part of the Ahora Repúblicas electoral alliance led by Oriol Junqueras in 2019. A coalition that the three pro-independence parties intend to renew ahead of the June 9 elections. Barrena and Miranda have shared the third seat in the European Parliament achieved by the coalition. The leader of the nationalist left resigned in September 2022 so that Miranda could take her place. In exchange, Barrena has continued in Brussels with a salary as an advisor.

Barrena was arrested in 1985 for being part of an ETA information commando. Covite has branded him one of ETA’s Mr. For more than 25 years he has been the nationalist leader closest to Arnaldo Otegi. Barrena (Pamplona, ​​1965) began his public career in the nationalist left as a councilor in Berriozar (Navarra), the town where his father had been councilor for the PSOE of Navarra. The jump from him to the management of Herri Batasuna occurred in 1998 when he emerged as a member of a trio that was completed by Arnaldo Otegi and Joseba Permach. A quarter of a century later, Otegi leads EH Bildu, Barrena is his ‘right hand’ as an interlocutor with the European independence parties, including the Catalans and the Galician BNG. Permach remains in the background without public or organizational positions linked to Sortu.

Barrena was a leader of Batasuna until its illegalization in 2003, a Navarrese parliamentarian until 2007 and Judge Baltasar Garzán ordered his arrest along with that of thirty members of the nationalist left for trying to reactivate Batasuna following the guidelines of ETA. Barrena remained in preventive detention for two years, he was released after paying bail of 50,000 euros and in 2016, along with the rest of the defendants, he reached an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office and with AVT and with Dignity and Justice to recognize his guilt. The agreed sentence limited this last sentence to one year and eight months in prison.

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