MADRID (Reuters) - Fascist-era street names will be returned to Cordoba, the Spanish city’s new rightist administration decided at its first meeting on Tuesday, overturning the left’s move to change them.
The conservative Peoples’ Party which now governs in Cordoba along with the center-right Ciudadanos, said it wanted to “recover popular street names” changed last year under the city’s previous administration.
More than four decades after his death, General Francisco Franco’s legacy remains a source of deep divisions in Spanish society, exacerbated in the past months by the rise of the far-right Vox, which won about 10 percent of the vote in a national election in April.
A group of activists and victims of the dictatorship, the Truth Commission Platform, said it would fight Cordoba’s decision, which it considers illegal as it challenges a 2007 law that formalized condemnation of Franco’s rule and ordered its symbols removed from public view.
Franco’s regime killed or imprisoned tens of thousands of people to stamp out dissent, and up to 500,000 combatants and civilians died in the 1936-39 Civil War.
Two streets and one square in Cordoba had originally been named in honor of Francoist military and political figures: Jose Cruz Conde, Conde de Vallellano and Antonio Canero.
The previous Socialist-led administration renamed them in early 2018 to Flamenco, Foro Romano and Human Rights Square.
Miguel Angel Torrico, a PP spokesman in Cordoba, said it was the previous administration’s decision that “created controversy and divisions”, and the new city hall was ready for any legal challenges.
“We are convinced that this change will comply with all the established legal requirements,” he said in televised comments.
In the southern region of Andalusia, to which Cordoba belongs, a PP-Ciudadanos coalition rules with support from Vox, which appeals to Spain’s traditionalist values and has a strong anti-immigration, anti-Muslim stance.
In a northeastern town where it governs, Vox has ordered to remove a bust of a 10th century Moorish ruler from a square.
Reporting by Elena Rodriguez; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Alison Williams