Valencians take lead against Franco-era glorification

Sen. Carles Mulet of Valencia's Compromis party in vanguard of those pressing for name changes. Photo: EFE / El Periódico

► Compromís initiative results in Franco-era signage removals nationwide ►

A campaign launched in the Spanish Senate by Valencia’s Compromís party to identify and pressure for the removal of more than 2,000 plaques on streets and plazas across Spain that still commemorate Franco-era heroes or events has so far resulted in signage removal in more than 82 towns and cities in provinces of Salamanca, León, Ávila, Cuenca and Valencia, with dozens more municipalities promising similar compliance.

The involvement of the Valencian party in seeking nationwide compliance with the 2007 Historical Memory legislation has proven consistent with their efforts in the Valencian regional community. As junior member since 2015 of the governing coalition led by the Socialist party (PSPV-PSOE), in October 2016 Compromís helped pass Valencia’s own Law of Democratic Memory, mandating the removal of more than 600 Franco-era statues, plaques and street signs in towns and cities throughout the autonomous region.

In the city of Valencia, where Compromís mayor Joan Ribó has led a coalition municipal government since the May 2015 election defeat of the Partido Popular (PP), which had ruled the city for 25 years, efforts to change street signs have advanced even further. In late-November, a year after the Valencian municipal council approved names changes of 51 streets throughout the Valencian capital, city workers began installing the new street signs, which will co-exist alongside the previous signs for a period of one year until the permanent removal of the old signs in November 2018.

The initiative advanced in the Spain’s national Senate by Compromís Sen. Carles Mulet comes at a time when much-publicized efforts by municipal councils in Madrid and Alicante to remove Franquista street signs have been temporarily halted by local judges, in response to injunctions filed by the Fundación Francico Franco in Madrid and by the local Alicante affiliate of the conservative Partido Popular (PP).

After Compromís compiled a list of some 2,000 cases of Franco-era street signs remaining in place, despite Spain’s 2007 Law of Historical Memory having mandated their removal, Mulet began pushing the office of the Senate presidency to initiate contact with more than 1,500 municipalities nationwide to demand compliance with the law. So far, 82 local governments have responded that they have now removed the signs and changed the names of the streets, with dozens more indicating they are in the process of doing so. Only 36 municipalities have responded negatively to the initiative.

► Read More in Spanish at El Periódico, Público and Levante-EMV …