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Spain lower house passes bill condemning Franco era

[JURIST] Spain's Congress of Deputies [official website, in Spanish] Wednesday passed legislation [press release, in Spanish] condemning the coup and subsequent fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco [BBC backgrounder; LOC backgrounder], overcoming opposition from conservatives that the bill would reopen controversies best left in the past. If passed by the Spanish Senate [official website, in Spanish], and published in the official government gazette, the "Law of Historical Memory" will condemn the Franco government, acknowledge and provide reparations for victims, allow for the correction of trial records, and set aside funds to compensate victims of the Franco era for land seizure and personal harm. The bill would also ban public recognition of the Franco era and require local governments to remove statues and other symbols honoring the former dictator. Approximately 55,000 people were killed during Franco's rule, including the grandfather of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [BBC profile], who strongly pressed for passage of the bill.

Parliament began debating the bill in December 2006 after first unveiling the proposal [JURIST reports] last July. Earlier this month, the Spanish Socialist Party [party website, in Spanish] said that it had secured the support of enough smaller parties [JURIST report] to ensure Wednesday's passage of the bill. AP has more.

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