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Spain's new government one step closer to removing Franco's remains

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Spain's new government one step closer to removing Franco's remains

Spain's new government one step closer to removing Franco's remains
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Spain's new Socialist (PSOE) cabinet is counting on parliament support to remove the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco.

The Valle de Los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) has remained a controversial monument and tourist attraction. It is dedicated to the memory of all those killed, on both sides, in Spain's civil war between 1936 and 1939.

But only two graves are marked, those of Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falangist party.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez became Spain's prime minister earlier this month following a confidence vote that ousted the People's Party leader Mariano Rajoy.

The Socialist party has only 84 deputies in the 350 seat parliament, meaning that any legislation it passes will need the support of other groups.

The legislation PSOE wants to reform in a draft bill is the Historical Memory Law — legislation that seeks to recognise victims of both sides of Spain's Civil War. That would include the removal of Franco's remains, as well as ban associations that glorify the former dictator, such as the Francisco Franco National Foundation.

People's Party (PP) representative Andrea Levy said that the PSOE was looking for “cultural battles” that, “beyond provoking confrontation do not contribute anything,” news agency EFE reported.

Levy added that Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is trying to “return to the Spain of confrontation and social tension of Zapatero."

Zapatero is Spain's former Socialist Prime Minister, who first passed the Historical Memory Law.

PSOE's Secretary of Justice Andrés Perelló said: "The recognition and recovery of the dignity of the victims of the Franco regime is a priority of the Spanish government, in a country that has, after Cambodia, the largest number of mass graves in the world."

The Valley of the Fallen counts around 34,000 victims of Spain's Civil war.