Pedro Sanchez, acting Prime Minister of Spain, held a press conference in Madrid on Thursday, after the exhumation of former Spanish leader Francisco Franco.

"Today Spain complies with itself”, said Sanchez, who argued that "with this decision, a moral affront is ending, as is the enhancement of the figure of a dictator in a public space."

The acting Prime Minister added that with Franco's exhumation "a further step is taken towards reconciliation, which can only rest through democracy and freedom, that we all share.”

The relocation to a grave in El Pardo state cemetery in Madrid fulfills a promise made by the socialist government, who argue his mausoleum glorifies a fascist who ruled the country for nearly four decades.

The site houses victims from both sides of the Spanish Civil War and was built using forced labour from political prisoners. It has since become a shrine for the far-right.

The dictator's resting place has been the subject of fierce debate in Spain, which transitioned to democracy in the late 1970s.

The exhumation runs against the wishes of Franco's family, who unsuccessfully challenged the reburial in the courts.

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