Manuel González, the conservative Popular Party mayor of the town of Baralla in the region of Galicia, uttered the unfortunate words during a municipal hearing on July 26th.
The council session included a vote condemning violent acts by separatist group Resistencia Galega.
But when González and his Popular Party entourage were asked to also denounce the murders committed during Spain’s 40-year Francoist regime, the conservative leader said “they probably got what they deserved”.
Baralla’s socialists were immediately appalled by González’s claims, labelling them as “hurtful and inacceptable in a democratic society”.
“If they (the PP) don’t apologize, all they’ll be doing is showing how dictatorial conservative town hall leaders are in Spain,” said the PP in an official statement.
The Galician mayor has insisted “his words were taken out of context” but they were nonetheless “unfortunate”.
Although the exact number of people murdered during the Franco regime is unknown, it is estimated that anywhere from 15,000 to 50,000 Spaniards lost their lives.