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Galicia town votes to keep mayor who said Franco victims “deserved it”

Popular Party council chief may still be removed from his post as Lugo provincial representative

Baralla Mayor Manuel González Capón addresses local residents outside the town hall on Thursday. Ampliar foto
Baralla Mayor Manuel González Capón addresses local residents outside the town hall on Thursday. EFE

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 own Popular Party (PP) group, 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 something that got out of hand and out of context. However, it was badly phrased.”

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.”