Leftwing, regional parties split on Franco-era measures

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• Catalans, Basques fail to join PSOE, Podemos to halt ‘Valley of Fallen’ funding
• PSOE balks at supporting Podemos-backed challenge to 1977 Amnesty Law

On the eve of today’s 42nd anniversary of the 1975 death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Spain’s left-wing and regional political parties have shown themselves as divided as ever, failing to come together to support legislation to remove public funding for the “Valley of the Fallen” monument to the victory of Franquista forces in Spain’s bloody civil war or to provide a measure of justice for families of the victims of Franco-era repression.

The absence last week of representatives from the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Republican Left of Catalonia), Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV) and Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT, formerly Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya) on a mixed Senate-Congressional commission led to the defeat of a measure proposed by the Socialist party (PSOE) and supported by Unidos Podemos (United We Can) that would have repealed the annual subsidy of 750,000 euros in Spanish taxpayers’ money for the “Valley of the Fallen Foundation” outside Madrid.

The foundation is charged with maintaining the huge mausoleum and Basilica complex outside Madrid that honors the former dictator’s memory and where Franco was buried with honours, alongside more than 30,000 dead of the Spanish Republican forces that his armies defeated in the Civil War. Since 2014, the foundation has lost more than 2.3 million euros and would face bankruptcy if not for the ongoing government subsidies.

Meanwhile, Unidos Podemos and the same parties that failed to show for last week’s vote on the “Valley of the Fallen” monument have so far failed to win the PSOE support for legislation they are co-sponsoring in Congress to allow investigation into human-rights abuses and extrajudicial killings by forces loyal to Franco during the 1936-39 Civil War and the 36-year dictatorship that followed.

In keeping with United Nations recommendations, the legislation is aimed at providing families of the victims some sense of relief and justice by allowing investigations currently blocked by Spanish courts into what exactly happened to their family members, thousands of whom were summarily executed and interred in mass graves. Even though the proposed legislation reportedly does not directly challenge the core of Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law that granting immunity to perpetrators of Franco-era abuses, the PSOE is reportedly wary of stirring controversy that any attempt at overturning the Amnesty Law would likely generate, and has so far sided with the governing conservative Partido Popular (PP) and centre-right Ciudadanos party in blocking the legislation.

► Read More in Spanish at Público, El Diario and La Sexta Noticias …

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