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Basque selection sets up a regional parliament

Spain's troubled northern Basque country voted Sunday to elect its first regional parliament and end 40 years of direct rule from Madrid. Nationalist parties were expected to win most of the 60 seats in the new assembly established under an autonomy statute approved by the region last October.

Opinion polls predicted the moderate and mainstream Basque Nationalist Party would top the poll and its 41-year-old leader, Carlos Garaicoechea, would form the region's first government since the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

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