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The Political Statute of the Community of the Basque Country, more known as Ibarretxe Plan was a proposal by former lehendakari Juan Jose Ibarretxe to radically alter the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country proposing a free association of the Basque Country with Spain on an equal footing, and that including a right to self-determination.

It was inspired by Puerto Rico's status within the United States,[1] also the sovereignty-association approach of the Parti Québécois regarding Canada[2] has been cited as a reference.

A debate on the plan was rejected by the Spanish Parliament and subsequently replaced by Ibarretxe's proposed Basque referendum, 2008.

Forging and demiseEdit

The plan was announced by the former lehendakari (Basque region President) Juan Jose Ibarretxe in September 2001 before the Basque parliament's plenary of general politics but the actual contents of the proposal were not made public until July 2003, after being leaked to the press. It was officially presented on October 25, 2003. The Basque Parliament's plenary approved it on 30 December 2004 by 39 votes against 35.

Since the plan may have radically affected the content of the current Spanish Constitution, the proposal was sent to the Spanish Parliament in January 2005 to be debated and voted upon. The two main Spanish parties, Socialists and Conservatives, attempted first to block the Basque parliament's decision by challenging it before the Constitutional Court, which approved the draft project for Spanish parliamentary consideration by a narrow margin.

Eventually, despite its majority support back at home, the Ibarretxe Plan was not allowed through even for discussion in Congress on February 1, 2005, with 313 voting against debating it (PSOE, PP, IU, Canarian Coalition and CHA), while 29 voted for it (PNV, ERC, CiU, EA, Na-Bai and BNG), and 2 abstentions (IC-V).

Basque nationalist parties overall deny legitimacy to the 1978 Spanish Constitution in the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre (Southern Basque Country), which did not receive Basque input. Despite numerically winning the poll, abstention and No ballots outnumbered conspicuously Yes ballots in the territory.


Under the plan, the two million people in this northern region would remain Spanish citizens but divided into two overlapping categories of Basques, defined as "citizens" and "nationals".

The plan provided for the Basque regional government's right to call referendums, opening the door to a possible future vote on independence, while removing a Spanish government right to suspend the regional government's powers.[3]

Alleged objectionsEdit

The Spanish Government, led by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and leading Spanish academics viewed the Ibarretxe Plan as contrary to the Spanish Constitution, this view being shared by the main opposition party Partido Popular.

The European Parliament refused to have anything to do with the plan, saying that it was a Spanish internal issue.

Subsequent proposalsEdit

Two years after the proposal was discarded, Ibarretxe proposed a similar initiative under a referendum-like vote.