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SPANISH socialists are celebrating after MPs voted yesterday to remove General Franco’s remains from the huge mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen.
The fascist dictator had the vast shrine built to accommodate his remains alongside those of soldiers who fought with him against the elected government between 1936 and ’39. His tomb there is topped with a 450-foot crucifix and is often visited by Spanish fascists, although the Valley also accommodates the remains of thousands who fought against fascism too.
Spain’s Socialist Party-led administration approved legal amendments last month allowing for Franco’s body to be removed from the site and given over to his family.
Yesterday’s vote, which passed by 172 votes to two, will allow the exhumation to go ahead. The right-wing Citizens and the Popular Party of ex-prime minister Mariano Rajoy provided most of 164 abstentions.
Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said keeping Franco in the tomb showed a “lack of respect” to the tens of thousands killed by his government, and that the valley should be home only to those who had died during the civil war itself.
The Communist Party of Spain says the exhumation comes “after a delay of 40 years,” stating that “the remains of a fascist dictator responsible for countless war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot be honoured in any democratic system.”
The party pointed out that the tyrant’s huge tomb was particularly offensive when Spain remains one of the countries with the highest number of disappeared, “whose remains have not been exhumed or identified because of the negligence of all governments we have had since the end of the dictatorship.”
It noted that the UN general assembly had recognised in 1946 that the Franco regime was “a fascist regime established in large part thanks to the help of Hitler’s nazi Germany and Mussolini’s fascist Italy, imposed on the Spanish people by force. It does not represent the Spanish people.”
But it warned that media interventions by former generals showed fascism was still deeply rooted in state institutions and called for an end to the entire Valley of the Fallen “theme park of the Franco regime.”
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