HISPANIST: Brit Paul Preston has joined the Franco reburial debate

A LEADING British historian has rubbished the position of Spain’s supreme court on Franco’s reign after the dictator’s reburial was delayed.

Franco expert Paul Preston questioned claims that General Franco was head of state from October 1936, almost three years before the end of the country’s bloody civil war.

The claim, which Preston labelled ‘bollocks,’ was made during a hearing into the removal of Franco’s body from the hulking mausoleum in Spain’s Valley of the Fallen.

Preston said: “The only way these people at the supreme court could think this is right, that Franco was head of state from that time, would be if they thought that the military coup of 1936 was totally legitimate.

General Franco e
TOMB: Valley of the Fallen, where Franco is buried

The court referred to the general as ‘head of state from 1 October 1936 until his death in November 1975,’ but Preston has argued Franco’s claim to be head of state had no legal basis.

Preston said: “There was a coup and within that coup a certain kind of competition between generals – a bit like the succession to Theresa May – to see who gets to be top dog.”

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