Spain’s Supreme Court has ruled that the caretaker Socialist government can exhume the remains of former dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.
Six judges met on Tuesday to decide on an appeal by Franco’s relatives against a government plan to remove the body from the state mausoleum he built on the outskirts of Madrid and take it to a cemetery elsewhere.
The government plans to re-bury Franco next to his wife in the El Pardo cemetery north of Madrid where various other politicians are interred but Franco’s family wants him to lie in a family crypt in the Almudena Cathedral – right in the centre of the capital.
Franco won the 1930s civil war and went on to rule Spain until 1975. He lies in a huge mausoleum near the country’s capital, called the Valley of the Fallen, alongside tens of thousands of civil war dead.
Spanish authorities have however said the former dictator should not be placed anywhere where he could be glorified.
The controversy comes at a time of political crisis in Spain, as the country prepares for its fourth general election in four years, on 10 November.