• Spain edition
 
Spain's royal future: Six key questions
A 2006 photo showing (From R) Spain's Queen Sofia, King Juan Carlos, Prince Felipe, his wife Letizia and daughter Leonor. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Spain's royal future: Six key questions

Published: 03 Jun 2014 18:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Jun 2014 18:28 GMT+02:00

Why did King Juan Carlos abdicate choose Monday to abdicate?

According to Spanish media reports, the king first decided to abdicate in January after he found himself stammering  through a speech before military officers at the Royal Palace.

He is then supposed to have informed Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and socialist opposition leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba as early as March. So why did he wait until Monday to abdicate?

Juan Pedro Valentín, the head of news at Spain’s Cuatro television channel believes the king had postponed his abdication until he was in good health following a hip operation in November 2013.

The king had also waited until after the recent European elections to make the announcement, the journalist added.

Another argument being put forward is that the poor results of Spain’s major parties in those elections — the two parties combined picked up less than half of the vote — could jeopardize the future of the crown if they were to be replicated in Spain’s 2015 general elections.

As it stands 91 percent of Spain’s parliamentary representatives will back the law required to make Felipe VI Spain’s new king. But a further fall in the popularity of the two parties in next year's general elections could see smaller parties pushing for an end to the monarchy. 

When will Prince Felipe actually become King Felipe VI?

The short answer is that an exact date has not been fixed. While the legal process is fairly straightforward, it appears that Spain’s parliament will not proclaim Prince Felipe as Spain’s new king for another four to six weeks.

On Tuesday, the Speaker of Spain’s lower house Jesús Posada said the Parliament would approve Prince Felipe´s succession on June 18th. The final date of the 46-year-old’s enthronement will, however, be set by the Royal Palace.

What will the king’s legal status be in future?

This is one of the big questions facing the royals. While the Spanish Constitution of 1978 makes provision for royal abdications, it doesn’t spell out the legal status of a monarch who has resigned.

At present, the monarch cannot face charges in court but it is not clear whether this legal protection will continue after abdication.

On Tuesday, Spain’s 20 minutos newspaper speculated the law paving the way for Prince Felipe’s succession to the throne could include articles clarifying the future position of Juan Carlos.

SEE ALSO: Finally: someone resigns in crisis-hit Spain

But the draft law which will be used to usher in the reign of Felipe VI only contains one article: it states that King Juan Carlos is abdicating. Royal watchers will now have to wait on future developments.

Where will Spain’s new king and queen live?

This question, at least, appears to have been answered. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will continue to live in their current residence, the Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid.

The future King Felipe and Queen Letizia won’t have to pack any boxes either. According to Spanish news agency Efe, they will continue to live in the €4 million ($5.6 million) residence they moved into in 2002. Family visits won’t be a problem either. The young royal couple’s 1,800-square metre (19,000-square foot) home is on the grounds of Zarzuela Palace and only half a kilometre from away from the main palace.

How will the king’s abdication affect events in Catalonia?

The Spanish region of Catalonia is still pushing hard for a November 9th vote on the issue of independence, despite Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish parliament declaring the move illegal.

On Monday, shortly after King Juan Carlos announced his abdication, regional president Artus Mas said the road map for independence would go ahead despite the change of king.

But the arrival of the younger, more popular, Felipe VI could take some of the wind out of the sails of Catalonia’s independence movement, especially among swinging voters.

Could we see a referendum on the future of the monarchy?

On Monday night, thousands of people around Spain protested in favour of a referendum on the future of Spain’s monarchy. Parties including the left-wing Izquierda Unida and Podemos have also backed the move.

But could such a referendum go ahead? The short answer is yes, but it wouldn’t be a walk in the park: the king has a central role in Spain’s constitution of 1978, and changing this would require some serious political manoeuvring.

Firstly, two thirds of Spain’s upper and lower houses of parliament would have to back a move to change the constitution. If that were to happen, a double dissolution would be required.

The newly elected chambers would then have to separately vote on the proposed changes to constitution. The same two thirds majority would be needed in each chamber and only then could a referendum on the future of the monarchy go ahead.

With some 91 percent of Spain’s political representatives reportedly in favour of the law paving the way for the arrival of Prince Felipe, this is unlikely to happen.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Airport authority AENA sell-off hits delay
Malaga airport: Shutterstock

Airport authority AENA sell-off hits delay

A last-minute objection by the Economy Ministry means that the agency which manages Spain’s airports will remain entirely in public hands at least until 2015. READ  

Weather watch
Spain's 'mini-summer' set for snowy finale
Temperatures are set to plummet and come in line with averages for this time of year. Photo of rainy day: Shutterstock

Spain's 'mini-summer' set for snowy finale

After a period of unusually warm weather across much of the country, Spain is now set for cooler temperatures with a cold front bringing rain by the bucketful and even the first snows of the autumn. READ  

Halloween tragedy jail terms an ‘insult’: mum
Cheerleaders in Halloween costumes perform during a Euroleague basketball match in Madrid. Photo: DANI POZO/AFP

Halloween tragedy jail terms an ‘insult’: mum

Two years after five young women were killed in Madrid Halloween party disaster, the mother of one victim makes a passionate plea for justice as the case judge also slams Spain’s court system. READ  

Spanish cemetery launches online funerals
A man cleans a relatives grave in Barcelona on All Saints' Day, November 1st, 2012. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Spanish cemetery launches online funerals

A groundbreaking new service in the Spanish city of Valencia will let people watch the funerals of their loved ones online wherever they are in the world. READ  

Cabinet moves to block new Catalan ballot
Catalan independentist flags during celebrations of Catalonia National Day in Barcelona on September 11, 2014. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Cabinet moves to block new Catalan ballot

Catalonia’s breakaway president called for a popular consultation on November 9 with same questions on region’s status as had been planned for court-suspended referendum. READ  

Aznar admits to multi-million Gaddafi deal
Former Spanish leader José María Aznar was angered by the West's support of rebels who eventually ousted Colonel Gaddafi from power. Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP

Aznar admits to multi-million Gaddafi deal

Former Spanish prime minister signed a contract with an energy company to clinch the Libyan’s approval for desalination plants, but war against the dictator frustrated the eventual sale. READ  

UK-style 'pound shops' launch in crisis-hit Spain
Alicante town hall officials open the first Dealz store on the Costa Blanca.

UK-style 'pound shops' launch in crisis-hit Spain

The UK chain Poundland has entered the Spanish market with its formula of top-brand products at rock-bottom prices now available in Alicante, Torremolinos and, as of Friday, Madrid. READ  

Ex-bullfighter threatens lawyer with hoe
A bullfight in Malaga in August. File photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Ex-bullfighter threatens lawyer with hoe

A former bullfighter was arrested by police on Thursday after he appeared at the offices of his lawyer bearing a hoe and spraying insults. READ  

Police smash major heroin ring in Catalonia
The ring would transfer its profits to Morocco where its leaders would launder the money by buying real estate. Photo of man with needle: Shutterstock

Police smash major heroin ring in Catalonia

Police in Spain's Catalonia region said on Thursday they have crushed a major heroin smuggling ring with the arrest of 36 people and the seizure of 2 million ($2.5 million) worth of heroin. READ  

Spanish judge accuses 26 in graft scandal
Spanish High Court judge Eloy Velasco arrives at the National Court in Madrid on Thursday, during a hearing in an alleged corruption scandal involving local government construction contracts. Photo: A

Spanish judge accuses 26 in graft scandal

A judge in Spain has launched judicial investigations into 26 suspects including governing party politicians and businessmen in a bribery probe that has seriously embarrassed the government, according to written rulings released on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Top ten: brilliant Barcelona restaurants
Society
Dad told to pay child support to 29-year-old daughter
Politics
'We're sorry': Spanish PM apologizes over corruption scandals
Tech
Meet Mr Biceps: Spanish policeman heats up Instagram
National
37 arrested as massive anti-corruption raids rattle Spain
National
Spain's public holidays in 2015: Official list
Health
Drug mule 'left to die' in airport over Ebola fears
National
Viral photo shows two worlds collide at Spain's African border
What's On
What's on in Spain: November 2014
National
Top Ten: the very best new Spanish words
National
Flash floods: woman dies in Canary Islands
Health
Cured: Spanish nurse with Ebola beats virus
International
Mango apologizes for 'Nazi blouse'
National
Where's the best place to live in Spain?
Travel
Top ten: great autumn getaways in Spain
National
The great Spanish cities quiz: take it now
National
Revealed: the cost of expat food in Spain
Politics
Catalan leader calls independence vote 'lite'
What's On
Games of Thrones star 'barred' from Seville film set
Education
Only one Spanish university makes world's top 200
Politics
Spanish court suspends Catalan independence vote
National
Catalonia defies Madrid and calls independence vote
National
Spanish village swaps bulls for giant balls
Society
Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law
National
'This is a great time for entrepreneurs in Spain'
National
Loud porn movie scares locals into calling cops
National
'We'll axe Catalan autonomy but won't send in tanks'
National
Spain's Thatcher square defaced by 'Brits'
National
Top 10: best Spanish movies of all time
National
Gravedigger suspended for corpse photo gaffe
Society
Named: the best city to live in Spain
Travel
Top ten amazing activities in Tenerife
National
Spain opens door to ban on burqas
Travel
Top ten: best bike rides in Spain
Travel
Spain to reopen 'world's most dangerous walk': The Camino del Rey
National
'Catalonia could be the shock Spain needs'
National
Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions
Sport
Think you know Spanish football? Try these amazing facts
International
Australia set to welcome young Spanish workers
Opinion
Is tourism destroying Barcelona?
Society
Fashion fail: Zara pulls plug on 'Holocaust shirt' for kids
National
Man hurt as friend swaps ice bucket for plane
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Politics
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,667
jobs available