• 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
Cricketer fined €1,125 for playing in public square
Cricketers in Barcelona say that there is a problem in terms of suitable places to practice . Photo: Shutterstock

Cricketer fined €1,125 for playing in public square

A cricketer in Barcelona was recently slapped with a €1,125 ($1,400) fine for wielding bat and ball in a public square in what is not an isolated case, the member of one cricket club in the city has told The Local. READ  

Ebola crisis: five patients given all-clear
Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP

Ebola crisis: five patients given all-clear

Five patients who were isolated in Madrid's Carlos III hospital after having contact with Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who contracted and beat the Ebola virus, left the facility on Thursday after being given the all-clear by doctors. READ  

Almodóvar sorry over 'illiterate' Galicians gaffe
Pedro Almodóvar apologized to Galicians, but reiterated his fury at Spanish bankers. Photo: Britta Pederson / AFP

Almodóvar sorry over 'illiterate' Galicians gaffe

Top Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar has apologized after he suggested people in Spain's Galicia region were backward during an angry attack on Spain's banks. READ  

Spanish science
Canary telescope hunts for Earth-like planets
A night-time view of the Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife. Photo: Shutterstock

Canary telescope hunts for Earth-like planets

A new 'low-cost' telescope on the Spanish island of Tenerife on Wednesday kicked off what will be an international search for nearby planets which could support life. READ  

Immigration crisis
Viral border photo shows two worlds collide
Bunker mentality: At first glance, the image appears to capture an idyllic morning round of golf. Photo: José Palazón/Prodein

Viral border photo shows two worlds collide

A startling photograph taken on Wednesday shows the reality at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa. The Local spoke to the man behind the image. READ  

Corruption focus
Finally: Spain's leaders face up to corruption fury
Cut it out: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's face on a banner at an anti-corruption protest in Madrid in 2013. File photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

Finally: Spain's leaders face up to corruption fury

Spanish authorities are taking a tougher line against dirty dealing by the country's long untouchable political elite as a lengthy economic downturn fuels public outrage. READ  

Game of Thrones gets Spanish tapas treatment
Game of Thrones extras leave the bullring in the Andalusian town of Osuna. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Game of Thrones gets Spanish tapas treatment

Fans of the "Game of Thrones" fantasy TV series are flocking to the historic Spanish town of Osuna, where one canny restaurant owner has even starting naming the tapas after characters in the show. READ  

Going down: jobless rate dips below 24 percent

Going down: jobless rate dips below 24 percent

Updated: Over 150,000 Spaniards found work from July to September, Spain's best summer since the country's economic crisis began, official figures released on Thursday show, but youth unemployment remains chronically high. READ  

Don't hurt migrants: Spain to border police
A member of the Spain's Guardia Civil police with would-be immigrants on top of a border fence separating Morocco from the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Don't hurt migrants: Spain to border police

Spain said on Wednesday it would order police guarding its borders with Morocco to take care to prevent injuries when tackling migrants who scramble over the fences into Spanish territory, after evidence of abuse by officers sparked outrage. READ  

Wild weather
Freak winter wave 'was Spain's biggest ever'
The wave which hit during wild winter storms nudged out the previous holder of Spain's biggest wave: a 26.13-metre giant near the city of Santander during 2009's dramatic Cyclone Klaus. File photo: Be

Freak winter wave 'was Spain's biggest ever'

A genuine 'freak' wave in January 2014 broke all existing Spanish records, officials said on Wednesday after the release of new data. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
Health
Spanish nurse contracts Ebola in Madrid
National
Madrid starts fining users of Uber 'taxi' app
Education
Only one Spanish university makes world's top 200
What's On
What's on in Spain: October 2014
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
Spain's royal 'bad boy' to be sent to UK school
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
National
Catalonia's 'Diada': 5 things you need to know
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'
International
Spanish police mistake Morocco's king for people smuggler
What's On
What's on in Spain: September
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

1,732
jobs available