SPAIN: High Court Rules For Exuming Francisco Franco

Politico Europe reports:

Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Francisco Franco’s remains can be removed from the Valley of the Fallen, endorsing the Socialist government’s plans against his descendants’ will.

The generalísimo’s body is set to be disinterred from the giant mausoleum on the outskirts of Madrid — a basilica dug into a hillside topped by a cross 150 meters high — and relocated to a more discreet cemetery at Mingorrubio, also close to the capital, where Franco’s wife is buried.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his plans to exhume Franco’s remains shortly after taking office in June last year, but they had been bogged down in the courts, marred by controversy with the Catholic Church and used as ammunition by political rivals.

Time Magazine reports:

Spain’s congress had approved a controversial plan to remove Franco’s remains from the Valley of the Fallen, a sprawling mausoleum just outside of Madrid, in 2018.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s centre-left Socialist Party have long argued that the dictator should not lie in a grand public monument, a monument he shares with some 34,000 victims of the three-year civil war he started by overthrowing Spain’s democratically-elected government in 1936.

Many of the bodies belong to Franco’s opponents and most have never been identified. But Franco’s grandchildren mounted legal challenges to both the exhumation and the government’s choice of reburial grounds — a public cemetery on the outskirts of Madrid — arguing that they have a right to choose what to do with their grandfather’s remains.

The BBC reports:

Mr Sanchez said the government had always been guided by the determination to alleviate the suffering of Franco’s victims. “Today is a great victory of Spanish democracy,” he said. “The Supreme Court has endorsed the exhumation of Franco’s remains and his transfer to El Pardo. Justice, memory and dignity.”

Pablo Iglesias of the leftist Podemos party said the move was a “very important step” to remove a shame which had been present despite 40 years of democracy.

But Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right Vox party, said he would oppose the Supreme Court decision “because only Vox has the courage to defend freedom and common sense from totalitarianism and electoral propaganda tricks”.