Spanish Prime Minister calls for transfer of dictator Francisco Franco’s remains from mausoleum

: SALVAMENTO MARITIMO: The service routinely uses helicopters in sea rescues Photo credit: Salvamento Maritimo

PRIME MINISTER Pedro Sanchez and the left-leaning Partido Socialista (PSOE) have lent their support to proposals to remove Francisco Franco’s body from the Valley of the Fallen.

Sanchez said in an interview with a Spanish television news programme he also wanted to convert the mausoleum into a national monument commemorating the fight against fascism.

The basilica was built to house the former dictator’s remains and those of soldiers who died in the Spanish Civil War.

“After 40 years this debate has led us to a very simple reflection, Spain cannot allow symbols that divide the Spanish,” he said.

The Francisco Franco Foundation, an organisation which promotes the former dictator’s legacy, said on Twitter any changes to the mausoleum would “demolish” reconciliation achieved after the conflict.

“It is not just about tearing down the tomb of General Franco. The aim is to bring down an exercise in reconciliation between the two Spains,” the Foundation said.

The news comes as, in a separate development, it was announced Sanchez is due to travel to Paris for meetings with French President Emmanuel Marcon this Saturday. They are due to discuss migration and eurozone reforms.

Sanchez’s PSOE has suggested modifying what was a proposed change to Historical Memory Laws to recognise victims on both sides of the civil war.

The party said these could be changed into a draft bill which would allow for the transfer of Franco’s remains among other measures.

The PSOE’s current lack of a majority in Spain’s Parliament would mean they would need to count on the support of other parties to get the measures passed.

Iñigo Errejon, from the left wing Podemos party, said a majority of lawmakers would back the proposals.

“The thing that turns the Valley of the Fallen into a centre for the glorification of genocide and repression is the fact that the remains of Franco are still there. Can you imagine something similar on the outskirts of Berlin?” He said.

Andrea Levy, from the conservative Partido Popular (PP), said the PSOE was looking to provoke confrontation with the proposals.

“They are looking for cultural battles,” she said.

The Valley of the Fallen, in the Sierra de Guadarrama near Madrid, was officially opened in April 1959. It is controversial as around 10 per cent of those who built it were convicts including political prisoners, among other reasons.

 

 

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Joe Gerrard

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