Spain to exhume Franco's remains in June


Madrid (AFP)

Spain will exhume the remains of late dictator Francisco Franco from its opulent mausoleum and move them to a location outside Madrid in June, the government announced Friday.

The move has long been talked about by sympathisers of the left-leaning government but fiercely resisted by Franco's family and many on the right.

It revives old tensions from Spain's civil war in the 1930s and the subsequent four decades of Franco's rule.

"The reburial of Franco's remains will take place in the morning of June 10," Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said.

She said the body will be taken to the Mingorrubio-El Pardo state pantheon, where Franco's wife is already buried.

Franco is currently buried in a huge hillside mausoleum belonging to the Catholic Church in the Valley of the Fallen, where it draws visits from tourists and demonstrations by right-wing sympathisers.

The former conservative Popular Party government resisted bids to exhume him but President Pedro Sanchez revived the effort after taking office last year.

His government gained the Vatican's approval for the exhumation.

Sanchez's government rejected a proposal by Franco's family to relocate him to Madrid's main cathedral, fearing it would become a place of pilgrimage for sympathisers.

The National Francisco Franco Foundation, which works to keep memory of the dictator alive, has said it will appeal the move at the Supreme Court.

"When you attack Franco, you attack my family, over half of Spain, the monarchy and the Church which protected him," Franco's great-grandson Luis Alfonso de Borbon said in an interview published in conservative daily newspaper La Razon in October.