Date set for controversial exhumation of Franco remains

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Spain’s Socialist government decreed that the remains of Francisco Franco would be exhumed from his vast mausoleum at The Valley of the Fallen outside Madrid and reburied at a more modest site on the June date.

The descendants of the dictator, who ruled Spain with an iron fist from the end of the 1936-39 civil war until his death in 1975, fiercely oppose the exhumation, and have succeeded in thwarting previous attempts.

If the plan comes to pass, the dictator will be reburied next to his wife, Carmen Polo, in the family tomb at Mingorrubio El Pardo, a state cemetery where various political figures are buried.

France24 notes that the monument, built by Franco’s regime between 1940 and 1959 holds the remains of around 37,000 dead from both sides of the civil war, which was triggered by Franco’s rebellion against an elected Republican government. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who has made removing the dictator’s remains from the monument one of his priorities since taking office in Jun 2018, wants to convert the site into a place of reconciliation and memory for all Spaniards.

The mausoleum has become a shrine for right-wing Spaniards, who mainly revere the dictator.

Spanish right-wing parties could hold a majority in parliament: poll (Reuters Feb 2019)

Spain exhumes bodies from Valley of the Fallen civil war monument (BBC)

Spain orders Franco's body be exhumed from mausoleum (Reuters Mar 2019)

Date written/update: 2019-03-21