Franco era symbols set to come down under new law

11th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 October 2007, MADRID -(AFP) - Statues, street names and plaques left over from Spain's 1936-39 civil war and the right-wing dictatorship of Francisco Franco should be removed according to a draft law put forward by the government.

11 October 2007

MADRID -(AFP) - Statues, street names and plaques left over from Spain's 1936-39 civil war and the right-wing dictatorship of Francisco Franco should be removed according to a draft law put forward by the government.

Under the terms of the law, agreed late Wednesday by the ruling Socialists and several smaller left-wing and nationalist parties, all symbols from Franco's four-decade military dictatorship will have to removed from all public buildings.

"Public administrations will take the necessary measures to remove shields, insignias, plaques and other commemorative symbols or statements of exaltation of the military uprising, the civil war or the repression of the dictatorship," reads the text of the draft law.

A previous draft of the law had only called for symbols of the dictatorship, which lasted until Franco's death in 1975, to be removed from state property belonging to the central government. Most have already vanished.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialists have enough support from smaller parties to ensure the controversial "law of historical memory" will be approved when it is put to a final vote in parliament on October 30.

The law, one of Zapatero's key pledges when he came to power in 2004, will for the first time acknowledge the victims of Spain's 1936-39 civil war and ensuing military dictatorship.

It will declare sentences handed down by special courts set up under Franco to be "unjust" and "illegitimate" but will not void them as demanded by the pro-independence Catalan ERC and the communist United Left parties.

The conservative Popular Party, the main opposition party, has opposed the law on the grounds that it opens old wounds and is divisive.

Opinions on the civil war and its aftermath in Spain tend to be split along party lines.

Some 50,000 anti-Franco Republicans were sentenced to death at the end of the war and tens of thousands of other opponents of his regime were thrown into jails.

For the sake of national reconciliation, Spain granted an amnesty for crimes committed under Franco's iron-fisted rule, two years after his death in 1975 and a new constitution in 1978 ushered in democratic rule.

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Subject: Spanish news

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