Spanish government takes first step to exhume Franco from mausoleum
Congress in Madrid to vote on the issue with Catalan parties key players
The Spanish executive has taken the first step in exhuming fascist dictator Francisco Franco's body from his mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen, in the Madrid region.
Government vice president Carmen Calvo announced on Friday that the cabinet had passed a decree ordering the remains be exhumed.
The issue will now go before the Spanish Congress, which will have to vote on it. The Ciutadans party and the People's Party have already flatly rejected the move by the Socialist executive.
If both parties vote against the decree, its approval would be in the hands of the pro-independence parties and Unidos Podemos -which includes Catalan force En Comú Podem, non-aligned over independence but in favor of a self-determination referendum.
The measure has led to some controversy and a political row recently.
For almost 43 years the remains of dictator Francisco Franco have lain in the mausoleum outside Madrid known as the Valley of the Fallen.
Starting on August 31, Franco's family will be given 15 days to say where they want the dictator to be buried. If they give no indications, Pedro Sánchez's government will decide where to place Franco's remains.
According to Calvo, the exhumation could take place by the end of the year and during the parliamentary proceedings the decree might be altered.
The pro-independence Catalan parties have urged Madrid to nullify Francoist death penalties and prison sentences, including the one affecting the former Catalan president Lluís Companys, executed by the regime in 1940, if they want their parliamentary support to exhume Franco. The Catalan Parliament symbolically nullified them all in 2017.