Exiled Spaniards' grandchildren can be Spanish

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MADRID, Oct 19 (Reuters) The grandchildren of Spaniards exiled during the country's 1930s civil war will be able to claim Spanish nationality under a law to be voted on by parliament this month.

Under current law, only children born to Spaniards living abroad are entitled to Spanish nationality, and the second generation of descendents are not entitled to passports.

The plans, part of a politically divisive law aimed at officially condemning Franco's dictatorship, would affect the descendents of thousands of children evacuated to countries including the Soviet Union and Mexico during the civil war.

''There are Spaniards who lost their nationality because they had to go into exile from Spain during the Civil War, and that's not fair,'' Labour Minister Jesus Caldera told Congress yesterday.

The law will also extend citizenship to the grandchildren of women who had to give up their Spanish nationality on marrying foreigners under the Franco regime, Caldera said.

Descendants will only be able to apply for Spanish citizenship during the two years following the implementation of the law, if it is approved, with the possibility of a year's extension.

Parliament is due to vote on the 'historic memory' law this month.

REUTERS RKM BST0510

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