Spains Supreme Court this week banned Batasuna, a militant political party that advocates independence for the Basque region in the north. It is the first time since 1975, when dictator Franco died and democracy returned to the country, that a party has been outlawed. Batasuna is widely believed to be the political wing of ETA, a Basque terrorist group responsible for hundreds of bombings and killings for more than 30 years. The verdict means that candidates for local office can no longer run as Batasuna members, but those already holding posts can serve out their terms. Moderate Basque parties that eschew violence said that while they did not agree with Batasuna, they didnt want to see it banned. Provincial Justice Minister Joseba Azkarraga called the ruling an unprecedented setback for democracy.