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The President of the autonomous government of the Basque Country, Spain is referred to as Lehendakari (from "lehen idazkaria", literally, "the first secretary") in Basque, or Eusko Jaurlaritzako Lehendakari ("President of the Basque Government").

The correspondent title in Spanish is Presidente del Gobierno Vasco and, since recently, the Spanish form lendakari [2].

Contents

History of the term

The term lehendakari is a 20th century neologism. Before the establishment of Standard Basque in the 1970s, it was spelled Euzko Jaurlaritzaren Lendakari. Both euzko and lendakari are Basque neologisms created by members of the Basque Nationalist Party.

The generic Basque words for "president" and "government" are presidente(a) and gobernu(a), words loaned from Spanish in the absence of an original Basque term for these. Currently, in the Basque language these words are used when referring to any president other than the Basque one, like the President of France or the president of a football team, whereas the neologism lehendakari is usually reserved for the Basque president only. Furthermore, the word Lehendakari is commonly used in Spanish, both in and outside the Basque region, to refer 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...".

Current 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[1].

List of lehendakaris

* 1978-1979: Ramón Rubial Cavia (a member of the Partido Socialista de Euskadi, he was president (not usually referred to as lehendakari) of the Basque General Council, a multipartite organ preparing the restoration of Basque autonomy.)
* 1979-1980: Carlos Garaikoetxea Urriza (second president of the Basque General Council)

Aguirre y Lecube served as first Lendakari of the Región Autónoma del País Vasco, but Franco's army suspended the autonomy of the region in 1937.

See also

References

  1. ^ [1]
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