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Spanish government readies removal of dictator Franco’s remains

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Spain’s Socialist government aims to approve a decree next Friday ordering the removal of dictator Francisco Franco’s remains from a grand mausoleum outside Madrid, a senior government official told Reuters on Monday.

More than 40 years after he died, the Franco era remains a sensitive subject in Spain. The plan to move his remains divides Spanish society and political parties, and has been delayed several times over the past months. His family opposes the exhumation.

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Once the removal order has been approved, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government will give Franco’s family 15 days to choose a place for the dictator’s remains to be reburied, according to eldiario.es website.

During Franco’s 1939-1975 rule, tens of thousands of his opponents were killed and imprisoned in a campaign to wipe out dissent. As many as 500,000 combatants and civilians died in the preceding civil war.

Transforming the “Valley of the Fallen” site, marked by a 152-metre (500-foot) cross on a mountainside and criticized as Europe’s only remaining monument to a fascist leader, into a memorial to victims of the brutal civil war, is a longstanding ambition of the Socialist Party.

Sanchez’s promise to remove Franco’s remains before the end of his term was one of several high-profile measures intended to appeal to left-wing voters, alongside naming a majority-female cabinet and initially receiving more migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

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The plan to approve the decree comes as speculation grows that Sanchez might call an early election if his government, which controls fewer than a quarter of seats in parliament, fails to persuade lawmakers to back its budget on Wednesday.

Franco’s family has said that if his remains are removed, he should be reinterred at the Almudena Roman Catholic Cathedral in central Madrid, where his daughter is buried and where the family owns a burial space.

But a government report last December concluded that the cathedral was unsuitable as a burial place for security reasons.

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Franco’s descendants intend to appeal any decision to move his remains, according to Spanish media.

Reporting by Belen Carreno and Joan Faus; Writing by Joan Faus; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Catherine Evans

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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