The exhumation of the remains of Franco will take place on Thursday 24 October at 10.30am, the Spanish government has announced.
Francisco Franco’s remains, which lie in a tomb in the Valley of the Fallen memorial site, will then be reburied alongside those of his wife in a family crypt in Madrid’s El Pardo cemetery.
The operation to move Franco’s remains will be closed to the media, and the authorities say it will be carried out ‘with respect, in the presence of the family’.
Removing the remains from the site meant to commemorate people who died on both sides of the Spanish Civil War was a key election pledge of Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.
After years of delays and legal wrangles, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court removed the final legal hurdle to the exhumation and opened the way to reburying Franco’s remains.
Judges had also previously rejected a proposal from Franco’s relatives to relocate the remains to the Almudena Cathedral, where many feared Franco’s supporters would find a new site of pilgrimage in downtown Madrid.
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‘The government has argued from the start of the process that the dictator’s remains could not stay in a public mausoleum that exalts him, something expressly forbidden by the historical memory law,’ said the Spanish executive in a statement.
Some 34,000 people are buried in the Valley of the Fallen memorial site. However, as Franco is also buried there, the site is often associated with his repressive regime.