VITORIA, Spain — Ruling Basque nationalists pushing for more autonomy from Spain won a regional election Sunday but fell short of a majority as candidates backed by a banned pro-independence party drew unexpectedly high support.
The wealthy region in northern Spain has had broad self-rule for 25 years, and incumbent Basque President Juan Jose Ibarretxe was seeking voter support to pressure Madrid to negotiate on his plan for autonomy bordering on independence.
But his Basque Nationalist Party and a moderate ally only won 29 seats in the 75-member Basque legislature, short of a majority and down from 33 in the outgoing parliament, the Basque Interior Ministry said.
An obscure pro-independence party endorsed by Batasuna, the party seen as the political wing of the armed separatist group ETA, won nine seats. It outperformed even Batasuna, which had seven seats in the outgoing legislature before being banned.