The Spanish government gave the green light on Friday to the exhumation of the body of General Francisco Franco. The remains of the dictator, who has been buried since 1975 in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen), a controversial mausoleum 50 kilometers northwest of Madrid, could be relocated.
Carmen Calvo, vice-president of the government, announced that a decree approving the exhumation had been taken in this direction in the Council of Ministers: “To have the victims of both sides in the same place where Franco continues to have — in a manner that’s totally unacceptable for a modern democracy like ours — a state tomb, is a lack of respect and peace for the victims who are buried there,” she explained.
The decree approved by the government will still have to be voted on by the Chamber of Deputies. The Socialists are very much in the minority, but they can count on the support of the radical left of Podemos, the Catalan separatists and the Basque nationalists to obtain the necessary simple majority.
If it is voted by the Chamber of Deputies, the exhumation, which is fiercely opposed family of the former dictator and right-wing activists, could take place by the end of the year.
Calvo said that the views of the Franco family “can be heard” and will have 15 days, starting on August 31, to decide where they want the remains transferred.
The Government will decide where the remains of the dictator are buried, “assuring a dignified burial”, if the family does not express its will about its final destination “in time and form”, according to the decree law.
Designed by the dictator to celebrate his victory, Valle de los Caidos was built between 1940 and 1958 by thousands of republican prisoners.