MADRID — Spanish lawmakers have backed a government plan to open the tomb of Gen. Francisco Franco and relocate his remains from a controversial mausoleum built in the former dictator's name.

Franco was buried in 1975 in the Valley of the Fallen, a shrine he ordered built 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Madrid and topped with a 150-meter cross.

In August, Spain's new center-left administration of Pedro Sanchez approved legal amendments to a 2007 law to allow the exhumation.

On Thursday the royal decree passed by 172 in favor and 2 votes against in a largely symbolic vote in the lower house or the Congress of Deputies.

There were 164 abstained votes, from the center-right Citizens and most of the Popular Party conservatives.