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The President of the Basque Government (Basque: Eusko Jaurlaritzako lehendakaria, Spanish: presidente del Gobierno Vasco), usually known in English as the Lehendakari (Basque: lehendakari, Spanish: lendakari), is the head of government of the Basque Autonomous Community. The lehendakari leads the executive branch of the regional government.

President of the Basque Government
Eusko Jaurlaritzako lehendakaria
Coat of Arms of the Basque Country.svg
Coat of arms of Basque Country
Iñigo Urkullu 2.jpg
Incumbent
Iñigo Urkullu

since 15 December 2012
StyleExcelentísimo Señor (m), Excelentísima Señora (f)
Jaun Txit Agurgarria (m),
Andere Txit Agurgarria (f)
ResidenceAjuria Enea
SeatLehendakaritza, Vitoria-Gasteiz
NominatorBasque Parliament
AppointerFelipe VI of Spain
Term lengthFour years
Inaugural holderJosé Antonio Aguirre
Formation6 October 1936
Websitewww.lehendakari.euskadi.net

The current lehendakari is Iñigo Urkullu, of the Basque Nationalist Party.

The Basque noun lehendakari means "president" and can refer to the president of any country, club, association etc.[1]

History of the termEdit

The term lehendakari is a 20th-century coinage, from the Basque lehendabizi ("first") and the suffix -ari which indicates a profession. Before the establishment of Standard Basque in the 1970s, it was spelled Euzko Jaurlaritzaren Lendakari. Both lendakari (president) and jaurlaritza (government) are Basque neologisms created by members of the Basque Nationalist Party.

The generic Basque words for "president" and "government" are both lehendakari(a) and presidente(a) for the former, and gobernu(a) for the latter, being presidente(a) and gobernu(a) words loaned from Latin.

Since the very moment when the noun lehendakari was coined, both lehendakari(a) and presidente(a) have been used as perfect synonyms to refer to the head of any public or private government organ.[2] So lehendakari, in Basque language, is not only the name of the president of the Basque autonomous community,[3] but also the name officially used to refer to the head of the Chartered Community of Navarre,[4] the head of a parliament,[5] the head of a rugby club,[6] the head of a hiring board,[7] the head of a board of directors,[8] etcetera.

On the other hand, the word lehendakari is commonly used in Spanish, both in and outside the Basque region, to refer exclusively to the Basque president, comparable to the use of Taoiseach as the title of the Irish head of government in English.

Lehendakaris elected for the PNV have sworn office following a ritual established by Aguirre: next to the Guernica Tree, on a Bible in Basque, using a symbolic formula which reads "before God, prostrated, standing on Basque land, remembering the ancestors, under the Guernica Tree and before you, representatives of the Basque people, I swear...".

Former lehendakari Patxi López used a similar formula in the same place, but also included visible changes to it by suppressing the "before God, prostrated" part and the fact that he sworn on a Basque Statute of Autonomy rather than on a Bible.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mitxelena, Koldo (1987–2005). Orotariko Euskal Hiztegia / Diccionario Vasco. Euskaltzaindia.
  2. ^ See the abundant examples in the Orotariko Euskal Hiztegia dictionary entry of lehendakari: "Presidente. "Lendakari aukeratu zuten" Gte Erd 60. Euzko-Antzerti-Bazkunaren Lendakarijari. EEs 1911, 116. Gipuzkoako Diputazioko lendakari Julian Elorza jaunak. Muj PAm 9. Azkenengo ogasunzaia Antonio Alzibar eta lenbiziko lendakaria Bruno Larrazabal jaunak izan ziran. Eguzk RIEV 1927, 435n. Agur, Arana Goiri, geure lendakari / zintzo ta ona zaren jeltzale gurgarri. Enb 125. ["Eusko-Ikaskuntza"-ko] lendakariak batzarre-itxitzea yo zun. Ldi IL 94. Colombiako lendakari izana. PMuj Y 1934, 165. Obispoa zan, baño baita erri gizon bezela, lendakari edo agintari nagusi ere. Munita 32. Oraintsu arte bera izan da Luistarren lendakaria Itziar-en. Basarri 29. Ajuria'tar Kepa lendakaritzako. BEnb NereA 69. Agirre lendakari bikañari. Ugalde Iltz 3. Ez aiñ gutxi-etsi, lendakari baiño gutxiagoko zerbaiti eder-etsiaz. Berron Kijote 91. En DFrec hay 149 ejs. (2 septentrionales) de lehendakari y 23 de lendakari. v. tbn. Lendakari: JBDei 1919, 318. EEs 1920, 109 y 1924, 133. NEtx Nola 11. (Como primer miembro de comp.). Lendakari-aulki atzean lau ate-morroi, soin-ertzak urrez aski-apaindurik. Ldi IL 21. Lendakari-mai aurretik mintzategi bat dago. Ib. 25 (en ambos casos se refiere al Parlamento español)."
  3. ^ See the official website of the president of the Basque autonomous community.
  4. ^ See the page of the Presidency of the Government of Navarre.
  5. ^ See the official pages of both the head of the Parliament of the Chartered Community of Navarre Archived 2011-10-16 at the Wayback Machine and the head of the Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community. Archived 2012-06-29 at Archive.today
  6. ^ For example, the president of the Ordizia Rugby Club is referred to as klubeko lehendakari (president of the club) in the official website of this club. Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ See, for example, this announcement published in the Official Bulletin of the Basque Autonomous Community. Archived 2014-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ See, for example, this page that lists the members of the Board of Directors of the company Egunkaria SA. Juan Mari Torrealdai is Administrazio Kontseiluko lehendakaria (President of the Board of Directors).
  9. ^ «López promete el cargo en Gernika sin humillarse ante dios», Publico, 07/05/2009.