A woman holds an umbrella at the Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen), the mausoleum holding the remains of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, on the 43rd anniversary of his death in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, outside Madrid, Spain,
FILE - A woman holds an umbrella at the The Valley of the Fallen, the mausoleum holding the remains of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, outside Madrid, Spain, Nov. 20, 2018.

Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that the government can exhume the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco, rejecting the objections of the Franco family.

The remains will be moved from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum that was built by the military dictator outside Madrid to a more modest cemetery where his wife is buried.

Franco ruled Spain from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until his death in 1975.

Critics have said Franco's tomb in the Valley of the Fallen only glorifies the dictator and his brutal regime.

The ruling was a victory for the caretaker government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialist Party, which had made the exhumation one of its main campaign promises.

In a tweet, Sanchez called the ruling a "great victory for Spanish democracy'' and said it would help "to repair the suffering of the victims of Franco."

Sanchez's deputy, Carmen Calvo, said the exhumation would take place "as soon as possible.''  However, Franco's family has said it plans to appeal to the country's Constitutional Court.