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Mayor who said Franco victims “deserved it” to keep job

Mayor of Baralla, a small town in Galicia, jeered by demonstrators outside council building

"A mayor who supports Francoism cannot continue in the chair," say Socialists

The mayor of Baralla, Manuel González Capón, is cheered by supporters on Thursday. Ampliar foto
The mayor of Baralla, Manuel González Capón, is cheered by supporters on Thursday. EL PAÍS

The mayor of Baralla, a small town in Lugo (Galicia), will not be stepping down from his post, despite having said that those who were condemned to death during the Franco dictatorship “would have deserved it.”

In a meeting on Thursday morning, the councilors in Baralla voted eight-to-three in favor of keeping Mayor Manuel González Capón in his job.

The eight votes in the mayor’s favor all came from his Popular Party (PP), while the three votes calling for him to stand down came from the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) and the Socialist Party.

Inside the council building dozens of people turned out in support of the PP mayor, but outside a crowd of around 100 people were calling for him to resign.

At one point, the mayor asked the Civil Guard to remove a group of protesters carrying photos of Franco’s victims from the council building.

Following the vote, the mayor said: “Although I am not proud of what I said, let’s be clear about that, I feel grateful for the support, which is giving me the will and the strength to keep working.”

In the face of the Socialists' warning that all those who support him are “Francoists,” González replied: “They know me and they know that it was a subject that got out of hand and out of context. However, it was badly phrased.”

The BNG spokesman at the Baralla town hall, Xosé Manuel Becerra, said he did not agree with the decision, although he described it as “predictable.” He urged the president of the PP in Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijoo, and the provincial president, Xosé Manuel Barreiro, to “make it clear whether they accept the mayor’s statements.”

“If they don’t accept them and endorse him, they have to make him resign. A mayor who supports Francoism cannot continue in the chair,” he added.

In September, Lugo council will debate whether González Capón should resign as a provincial representative. The Socialist spokesman for Baralla, Manuel Pérez, said that “it is now the Lugo Socialist group that should take measures to secure his resignation from the provincial body.”