Spain sets Felipe on path to throne despite protests

2014-06-03 14:57
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Spain
    Take a trip to Spain with the ultimate guidebook. Now R444.00
    buy now

Madrid - Spain set its future King Felipe VI on the path to the throne on Tuesday, launching an unprecedented handover of the crown in the face of a breakout of anti-royalist protests.

One day after 76-year-old King Juan Carlos declared an end to a four-decade reign that guided Spain from dictatorship to democracy, the government met to ponder the first succession in post-Franco history.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called an extraordinary cabinet meeting to draw up a draft abdication law, which must then be approved by parliament in a process that could take weeks.

The twilight of the king's reign has been beset by scandal.

Yet not all celebrated the impending arrival of his more popular son, 46-year-old Crown Prince Felipe, a tall former Olympic yachtsman, and his 41-year-old wife, the future queen Letizia, a glamorous former television news presenter.

Thousands of anti-royalists took to the streets across Spain in the hours after the abdication, calling for a vote on the monarchy's survival.

'No more kings'

Protesters filled Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square and police closed access to the royal palace just a few minutes' walk away from the demonstration.

"Tomorrow, Spain will be a republic!" chanted crowds of demonstrators brandishing placards reading: "No more kings, a referendum", "A royal transition... without a king", and "Bourbons up for election".

"I think now would be a good time to proclaim a republic," said Paola Torija, a 24-year-old therapist for the disabled. "He had his moment of glory but today it is a bit archaic, a bit useless, an extra cost especially in the crisis we are living in."

Three small leftist parties - Podemos, United Left and the Equo green party which together won 20% of the vote in 25 May European Parliament elections - called for a referendum on the monarchy.

Spain's prime minister defended the monarchy and said a referendum would require a change to the constitution.

"I think the monarchy has the support of the great majority in Spain," Rajoy said when asked about referendum calls at a conference on Tuesday in Madrid.

"Propose a constitutional reform if you don't like this constitution. You have the perfect right to do so. But what you cannot do in a democracy is bypass the law," he said.

Military coup

Spain's 1978 constitution which established the monarchy was supported by a great majority of Spaniards in a referendum at the time, the prime minister said.

Juan Carlos was widely respected for smoothing Spain's transition to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, most famously facing down an attempted military coup in February 1981.

But many Spaniards were outraged when they discovered the king took a luxury elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 as they struggled to find jobs in a recession.

Resentment over the monarchy grew when the king's younger daughter Cristina was named a suspect in relation to her husband Inaki Urdangarin's allegedly corrupt business practices.

A younger generation

In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Juan Carlos said the economic crisis had awakened a "desire for renewal".

"Today a younger generation deserves to step into the front line, with new energies," said the monarch.

In a study by pollster Sigma Dos published in January 2014, support for the king fell to 41% while those wanting him to abdicate in favour of Felipe surged to 62%.

Most worryingly for royalists, the same survey found only 49% approved of the monarchy itself.

The future King Felipe VI faces a daunting challenge, analysts said.

"There will be tension, there will be difficult times, but the prince just has to demonstrate that he is capable, because he is. He has a clean record, is fair, hard working. You can't ask for more," royal biographer Cesar del al Lama told AFP.

"He will not be weighed down like the king by having a corrupt son-in-law. He will not make a mistake like the Botswana hunting trip."

Felipe will come to the throne as the government of the wealthy north-eastern region of Catalonia is pushing to hold an independence referendum in November - a vote that is fiercely opposed by the central government in Madrid.

The king has called Felipe, who was schooled for his future role as monarch in the three branches of the armed forces and during studies abroad, the "best prepared" heir to the Spanish throne in history.

He kept him at his side on the night of 23 February, 1981 when soldiers firing shots over the heads of lawmakers seized parliament in a bid to re-establish a military regime.

Read more on:    king juan carlos  |  spain
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Beauty

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.