Spain challenges new Basque pro-independence party

Spain's attorney general says a new Basque independence party is a repackaged version of the armed group ETA's banned political wing Batasuna and he will ask judges to deny the party legal status.

It is up to a special section of the Supreme Court to decide on legalizing the new party called Sortu, which unveiled its charter last week and insists it rejects ETA violence.

The attorney general's office said in a statement Friday that police investigators believe Sortu is a continuation of Batasuna, which was banned in 2003 on grounds it is part of ETA.

Sortu wants legal status so as to field candidates in Basque local elections in May.

ETA declared a cease-fire in September and went further in January by calling it permanent.