Spain's lower house of parliament debated a historically sensitive subject on Tuesday evening: the exhumation of the remains of Francisco Franco from a giant monument to the fallen in the Civil War that he ordered built in 1940, and their reburial elsewhere.

Introducing the bill for the socialists, MP Gregorio Cámara said there was "nothing in it that any democrat couldn't support".

The Valle de los Caídos ("Valley of the Fallen") is a basilica and site that contains the remains of 33 847 people. It took nearly 19 years to build and is topped by a giant 150m cross.

The Socialist Party's (PSOE) non-binding motion also proposed relocating the remains of Falange founder José Antonio Primo de Rivera in another spot within the compound.

The bill contains 14 other suggestions related to the divisive concept of the country's "historical memory", ranging from refusing public funding for Francoist associations to the annulment of Francoist criminal sentences against republicans, or more public help for relatives seeking closure for deceased loved ones.

In 2012, Mariano Rajoy's new Popular Party government decided to disband the previous socialist government's Civil War & Dictatorship Victims Office. One of its roles was to help relatives search for their loved ones in one of Spain's 2,000 mass graves from the period.

"The path to historical memory [in Spain] has been and is still narrow, tortuous, slow, and delayed", said Mr. Cámara.

In 2007, the Socialist Party, then in government under José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, introduced and passed a new Historical Memory Act.

Popular Party spokeswoman Alicia Sánchez Camacho said that her uncle had been shot by a firing squad and that the Socialist Party had "managed to go back to the past and stay there. They are always looking over at Podemos".

The Popular Party opposes the bill.

Podemos said it would support the PSOE at the vote, but questioned the bill's reach: Pablo Iglesias's party wants it to dig deeper into old national wounds.

Xavier Domènech, the spokesman for En Comú Podem (the Catalan branch of Podemos), said the measures did not go far enough and that it was time to end "government indifference".

"Not annulling Franco-era trials equates them to a state of democratic law", he said: "citizens don't understand that".

Ciudadanos said it was in favour of "the spirit" of the proposal. "Clearly there is still much to do", said their spokesman, José Manuel Villegas: "like finding the victims and treating our dead with dignity, or removing fascist symbols".

Mr. Tardà, for Esquerra (Republican Catalan Left, ERC) said today's socialist proposal was "a monument to political cynicism" given the socialist government's failure to include the exhumation of Spain's dictator in the 2007 law.

As a non-binding, non-legislative measure, the bill could not force the government to act were it to be passed at the vote on Thursday. The Spanish executive has a veto over initiatives emanating from parliament that also require budgetary consideration, and Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party has shown scant interest in the topic since returning to power in 2011.

His 2017 budget proposal contains no money at all for the observance of Mr. Zapatero's 2007 Historical Memory Act.

Published: 6:20 pm, May 11 2017 (link)

Spanish Congress Approves Motion To Exhume Franco's Remains

Spain's lower house of parliament voted 198-1 in favour (with 140 abstentions) of exhuming the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valle de los Caídos on Thursday, following a debate earlier in the week.

The lone vote against came from a Popular Party MP called Celia Alberto Pérez, who clarified on Twitter that she had voted against "by mistake", and that her "intention is to always vote with my group".

The Spanish Socialist Party, Podemos and Ciudadanos voted in favour of the idea, which also recommends a range of measures related to the "historical memory" of Spain's Civil War and the dictatorship period. The Popular Party and Esquerra (Republican Catalan Left, ERC) abstained. The motion is not binding on the government.