The remains of Francisco Franco, Spain’s former right-wing dictator, will be exhumed on Thursday.
The government in Madrid said this on Monday, after a legal and political battle that raised divisive questions over his legacy.
The plan is to move Franco’s body from a massive mausoleum in the so-called “Valley of the Fallen”, north-west of Madrid, to a cemetery north of the city.
“Both exhumation and re-inhumation will be carried out in privacy, in the presence of Franco’s family,’’ the government said in a statement on Twitter.
Spain’s acting Socialist Government decided on the move as part of a bid to transform the “Valley of the Fallen” into a place of national reconciliation.
The exhumation will take place at a time of heightened political tension, with general elections just weeks away on Nov 10.
Originally a memorial erected by Franco himself in honour of those who died on his side of the Spanish Civil War, the site has become a pilgrimage site for Franco followers and right-wing extremists.
Franco’s family lost a legal battle to keep the dictator’s remains in the Valley of the Fallen or have them taken to a family burial site in the Almudena Cathedral in central Madrid.
Franco ruled Spain from 1939, when his forces won the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. (dpa/NAN)