Patxi López was sworn in as Lehendakari (president) of the Basque regional government under the Tree of Guernica, symbol of Basque liberties, in a solemn ceremony held at the Casa de Juntas (General Assembly) in Guernica, one of the original charter law boroughs. Prior to the ceremony, the new president took possession in the Assembly house, where he was greeted by outgoing president Juan José Ibarretxe and given the makila staff symbolizing the legally constituted authority.
A large group of guests, including representatives from the regional Parliament, the regional government, the three provincial councils and local town and city councils, political parties and Basque society in general, saw Patxi López sworn in, in Basque and Spanish, as new regional president. On a copy of the Basque Devolution Act (known as the Statute of Guernica), López declared: "Upstanding on Basque soil, beneath the Tree of Guernica, before the representatives of our citizenry, in memory of our forebears, in the fullest respect for the law, I promise to loyally perform my duties."
The ceremony began with the arrival of the president-elect and his wife Begoña Gil at the Casa de Juntas in Guernica, where they were met by the President of the Basque Parliament, Arantza Quiroga. After greeting the guests, amongst whom was a small delegation from the Spanish central government led by deputy Prime Ministers María Teresa Fernández de la Vega and Manuel Chaves, and presidents from a number of other Spanish regions, Patxi López was ushered into the Assembly house, where he was sworn in, in Basque and Spanish, using the following formula: "I take possession and accept the post of President of the Government of the Basque Country, and my accompanying condition, as president, of ordinary representative of the State in its territory, and I promise to fulfil the obligations of my post loyally to the Crown, to the Statute of Guernica and other current legislation."
After the two ceremonies, the new regional president concluded the ceremony with a reading of parts of two poems. One was "Maitaza", by Basque poet Kirmen Uribe, and "Nothing twice" by Wislawa Szymborska, by which he wished to exemplify the modernity and universality of Basque culture.
The swearing-in ceremony ended with an aurresku dance of honour accompanied on this occasion by an oboe, followed by "Gernikako Arbola" (Tree of Guernica) and the Basque hymn "Gora ta Gora"
With the choice of "Maiatzak", President López sought to stress the social side of people, the relations that shape and ultimately construct us. "Nothing twice" expresses the individuality of people's acts and the unrepeatable nature of each person. Our identity lies in the miniscule difference between two drops of water.
Begira, sartu da maiatza,
Zabaldu du bere betazal urdina portuan
Erdu eta egingo dugu berba betiko kontuez,
Atsegin izatearen balioaz,
Zalantzekin moldatu beharraz,
Barruan ditugun zuloak nola bete.
Erdu, sentitu goiza aurpegian,
Goibel Gaudenean dena iristen zaigu ospel,
Adeoretsu gaudenean, atzera, papartu egiten da mundua.
Denok Gordetzen dugu betiko besteren alde ezkutu bat.
Look, May is here,
Spreading its blue lid over the harbour
Come, let us talk of the things of now and always,
Of the value of being kind,
Of how we are reconciled to our doubt,
Of how to fill the emptiness inside.
Come and feel the morning on your brow.
When we are sad, all seems dark and uncertain;
When we are strong, the world crumbles away.
Each one of us keeps close
Something unknown of other lives.
Nothing happens twice
And that is why
We are born unskilled
And so distinctively die
No day is repeated,
No two nights are the same
No two kisses taste alike,
No two meetings
Of smiling embrace
You will see peace take shape
Though we are different
As two drops of water
Born in Ondárroa in 1970, Kirmen Uribe is a National Literature Award winner and translator of works by Wislawa Szymborska.
Polish poetess and Nobel Literature Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska was born in Karmic on 2 July 1923.