• 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
Mystery bomb rocks town hall in Galicia
Police haven't ruled out political motives for Wednesday morning's explosion. A file photo of Guardia Civil officers: Shutterstock

Mystery bomb rocks town hall in Galicia

An explosive device is thought to be the cause of a blast which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning in a town hall in north-western Spain. READ  

Economy matters
Public debt to top 100 percent of GDP in 2015

Public debt to top 100 percent of GDP in 2015

Spain's public debt ratio will top the symbolic level of 100 percent of national output next year, well above European Union guidelines, before it starts dropping in 2017, the government's 2015 budget proposal showed on Tuesday. READ  

Catalans take to streets to back vote on self-rule
Photo: Quique García/AFP

Catalans take to streets to back vote on self-rule

Thousands of Catalans rallied in a rainstorm Tuesday, staging their own 'umbrella revolution' as their leaders battled to defend their bid for a referendum on independence from Spain after a court suspended it. READ  

Spain's new king still Europe's cheapest
Following his father’s surprise abdication in June, Felipe VI has attempted to clean up and modernize the tarnished image of Spain's royal family. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Spain's new king still Europe's cheapest

The Spanish government announced on Tuesday that the budget for the country's Royal Family will be frozen at €7.78 million ($9.8 million) in 2015, making Spain's new King Felipe Europe's cheapest monarch. READ  

Spain's 'Miami Vicer' gets 150 years' jail
A lawyer for Madrid-born Álvaro López Tardón said the crimial was merely propping up South Florida's real estate market. Photo: FBI

Spain's 'Miami Vicer' gets 150 years' jail

A US court on Monday handed Spanish drug lord Álvaro López Tardón a 150-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of laundering millions of dollars in drug money. READ  

Catalonia crisis
Catalan government axes pro-independence ads
The President of Catalonia, Artur Mas on Tuesday. Photo: Quique García/AFP

Catalan government axes pro-independence ads

Catalonia's regional government halted a publicity campaign to inform voters about a November independence referendum on Tuesday, a day after Spain's Constitutional Court suspended the vote. READ  

Vandals topple statue of disgraced politician
The sculpture was paint-bombed by critics on September 11th, Catalonia's National Day. Photo: Premià de Dalt Town Hall

Vandals topple statue of disgraced politician

A statue of former Catalan president Jordi Pujol - currently under fire for admitting he has hidden millions in offshore bank accounts – has been pulled to the ground in the town where it was erected in 2011. READ  

Visits from mum's 'killer' good for girl: judge

Visits from mum's 'killer' good for girl: judge

A Spanish judge has ruled it would be “beneficial” for a four-year-old girl to receive monthly visits from her imprisoned father, a police officer who stands accused of murdering her mother in cold blood and making it look like a suicide. READ  

Pro-independence Catalans call for protests
Pro-independence Catalans hope to pile pressure on Madrid with protests in favour of a November 9th vote on the issue of independence from the rest of Spain. File photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Pro-independence Catalans call for protests

The Catalan National Assembly has called on people in Spain's Catalonia region to take to the streets on Tuesday evening to protest against a decision by a top Spanish court to suspend a planned vote on independence for the region. READ  

Hard-hit Spaniards more generous than ever
Former naval engineer Carmelo sits on the street begging for money to supplement his pension in a bid to survive economically in Malaga in June. File photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Hard-hit Spaniards more generous than ever

Spain's important Catholic charity Caritas helped more people than ever in 2013, thanks largely to more donations from private individuals and an ever growing army of volunteers the organization said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Spanish court suspends Catalan independence vote
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
National
How good is your Spanish? Take The Local test
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?
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

1,712
jobs available