The exaltation of Franco will also fall from the signs of the town halls. The new one Democratic Memory Law, already in force, obliges the municipalities that keep names in honor of the dictator to modify them, in such a way that they stop apologizing for the dictatorship or its main leaders. The ball, according to the Government, is now in the court of the municipalities.
Plains of the Caudillo, Villafranco del Guadiana either Mola They are part of the list of towns that still keep the memory of the regime in their names and that, according to the Executive in a response sent to the Senate, must now take the necessary administrative steps to modify them.
This type of Francoist apology was raised by Senator Carlos Mulet in a written question referred to the Government. The representative of commitment formulated several initiatives in which he asked about each of these towns, while remarking that they may be affected “by the new Law of Democratic Memory, since in application of the norm it should change its name when referring to the Franco dictatorship “.
“What measures is the Government going to adopt to force this council to change its name and thus comply with the law?” asked Mulet in an initiative sent to the Executive at the beginning of last November, shortly after the entry into force of the new law of memory
In different answers to which you have had access Publicthe Government emphasizes in each of them that article 35.2 of the Democratic Memory Law “It establishes that the references made in place names, in the street or in the names of public centers, of the military uprising and of the dictatorship will be considered elements contrary to democratic memory.”
Also included in this category are “their leaders, participants in the repressive system or organizations that supported the dictatorshipand the civil or military units of collaboration between the Franco regime and the axis powers during the Second World War”.
For these reasons, the Government advises that “it is up to the municipalities to comply with the provisions, through the adoption of the appropriate agreement by the municipal plenary session in accordance with the regulations of the local regime”.
Today there are seven towns –some with the category of municipality, others classified as districts– in this situation. One of the most eloquent is Plains of the Caudillolocated in Ciudad Real and with just over 700 registered residents.
In response to a request made by the Senate at the initiative of Mulet, the city council officially reported in October 2020 that it had no intention of changing its name. The corporation, in the hands of the PPthen clung to a resolution of the Contentious-Administrative Court number 2 of Ciudad Real, which in 2018 rejected a request made by the memorialist lawyer edward ranz for the municipality to change its official name.
Also in 2020 and also in response to a Compromís initiative, Alberche del Caudillo –A locality classified as an “entity of territorial scope inferior to the municipality” belonging to the municipality of lime kiln and huts, in the province of Toledo – notified that it would not take any steps to change its name and remarked that there was no judicial request in this regard. The administration of this town also depends on the PP.
Meanwhile in Villafranco del Guadiana They are back with their swords raised. This small town in Extremadura saw its name reflected in newspapers and newscasts in 2016, when some residents mobilized with posters in defense of the Francoist name of the municipality.
The Badajoz Provincial Council He even withdrew a subsidy from this town for refusing to change its name. The case was taken by the corporation to the courts, where it won the lawsuit and thus obtained 100,000 euros of public money.
Last October – in the heat of the entry into force of the Democratic Memory Law– its mayor, the popular Daniel Sanchezadvanced to Extremadura Channel that he had no intention of changing the name and assured that the majority of his neighbors share his decision. What will happen then?
According to the new memory law, if the actions are not carried out voluntarily, “the competent public administration will automatically initiate the procedure for the removal of said elements”, which includes the denominations of towns that honor the dictatorship.
The regulations state that “the interested parties will be given a hearing for a period of fifteen business days”, while “the procedure will be resolved and its resolution will be notified within a maximum period of six months from the date of its initiation”. Next, the administrations will have a period not exceeding three months to abide by said resolution.
“For the execution of what is ordered, the competent administration may impose periodic penalty paymentsup to ten successive ones for periods of one month and in an amount of 200 to 1,000 euros, depending on the entity of the element to be withdrawn,” adds the text of the law.