Spain's ruling Socialist Party government will take Franco's remains to El Pardo Mingorrubio cemetery north of Madrid. The court unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by Franco's grandchildren and others who wanted to leave Franco's body where it is. If the body had to be moved, they wanted him taken to a family crypt in La Almudena cathedral in central Madrid. That presented challenges, though, because the church is in the heart of Madrid's tourist hotspots.
Franco was buried in a mausoleum when he died in 1975. The tomb was partially built by political prisoners of his regime. It's also the site of a mass grave of Spanish Civil War victims. Far-right sympathizers rally at the site on the anniversary of his death, Nov. 20.
The right-wing dictator ruled Spain from the 1930s until his death. His nationalist regime executed thousands of people during the Spanish Civil War and in the years afterward.
The effort to move Franco started when Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez took office in the summer of 2018. Spain will have another election Nov. 10, the fourth in four years. The body could be transferred before the election. Franco was seen by many as the last fascist dictator in Europe after World War II, making him an easy target as communism swept the continent. He was ostracized in the early years of the United Nations.
Now, the government needs the blessing of the church to gain access to the church to exhume the body.
The family said it will file an appeal with the Constitutional Court, which would freeze the proceedings until it rules on the case. A judge in Madrid suspended the license that's needed to move the heavy tombstone, saying the work would "endanger the safety of workers and property."
Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said the work will be done in a timely fashion.
"We will do it very quickly," Calvo said. "The quicker the better, because that is what the ruling calls for, and what's more, it is better that it happens as far away from the electoral campaign as possible."