• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spain's royal future: Six key questions

The Local · 3 Jun 2014, 18:28

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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
Beach closed after shark attack in southern Spain
Arenas del Sol beach in Elche was packed at the time. Photo: VisitElche.com

A man was bitten on the hand in a suspected shark attack at a beach on the Costa Blanca on Friday prompting authorities to ban swimming as a precaution.

Madrid ups ante against Catalan separatist lawmakers
Independence flags in Catalonia. Photo: AFP

Spain wants to nullify a text approved by Catalonia's parliament urging the region to push ahead with its independence drive, warning separatist lawmakers of severe consequences.

The good, bad and the ugly of long distance relationships
Are their advantages to loving from afar? Photo: MsSaraKelly / Flickr

Dating guru Sally Fazakerley gives us the lowdown on what it is really like to endure a long-distance relationship.

Thousands hunt Pokémon Go in Madrid to break record
Pokémon fans gather in Madrid's Puerta del Sol. Photo: AFP

It may only have been officially launched in Spain two weeks ago but already Pokémon Go already has so many fans here that Madrid set a world record.

Manhunt in Spain for abductor of teenager in Britain
Have you seen this couple? Photo: Metropolitan Police

A European Arrest Warrant has been issued for a Romanian 27-year-old accused of abducting a teenage girl from East London.

Barcelona unveils 'shame counter' of refugee deaths
Not just a number. Photo: AFP

The counter will update with each refugee victim who drowns at sea.

Spain's King Felipe VI tasks Rajoy with forming new govt
Rajoy in parliament last week. Photo: AFP

Can Rajoy do it or will there be third elections in Spain?

The Local list
Ten great reasons to discover the real Malaga right now
Malaga's modern port. Photo: Nick Kenrick/Flickr

Don't just fly into the airport and head straight for a beach resort. Here is why Malaga is now a destination in its own right.

Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low
Spain's tourism boom creates summer jobs. Photo: AFP

Spain's jobless rate slipped to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2016, as the tourism boom provided much needed seasonal work.

Weather
Heatwave continues and then Spain's set for sand storms
Keeping cool in a Madrid fountain. Photo: AFP

Across Spain, 22 provinces are on alert for extreme heat as temperatures soar to above 42 C.

National
7 reasons why grandparents in Spain are simply the best
Travel
Barcelona bans Segways from tourist clogged waterfront
National
Spain pays €300m each year in pensions… to dead people
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Police issue guidelines as Pokémon craze sweeps Spain
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Another dodgy art restoration raises alarm in Spain
National
Watch: Man in wheelchair zooms past Barcelona traffic
National
Woof! How to find dog-friendly beaches in Spain
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Tourist sparks bomb scare by locking suitcase to park bench
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Technology
Five brilliant apps to help improve your Spanish
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Off the beaten track: 14 best kept travel secrets in Spain
International
Keep calm and wait and see: Advice for expats post-Brexit
Features
Top 10 Spanish treats to keep you cool in summer
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
'I've had best time ever' insists American gored in bull run
Health
How to avoid heatstroke when Spain starts to sizzle
International
Champion of expat property rights in Spain awarded gong
National
Scorchio! Heat warnings issued across Spain
National
Brits demand dual citizenship for expats in Spain post Brexit
Sport
Spanish matador gored to death in the ring
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Lifestyle
Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain
National
Spanish police rescue British teen trapped by dad in house for two years
Features
Seven burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
3,302
jobs available