• 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
Breaking
Justice Minister quits over failed abortion law
Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Justice Minister quits over failed abortion law

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón has resigned following his government’s decision to shelve a tough abortion draft law he had spearheaded. READ  

Police chief stops cops from driving mafia cars
Spanish National Police officers will no longer be able to ‘show off’ top-of-the-range vehicles they’ve procured through drug busts and other heists. Photo: José Miguel Martínez/Flickr

Police chief stops cops from driving mafia cars

Spain's National Police chief is banning his officers from driving around in high-end vehicles seized from drug-traffickers in a bid to reduce maintenance costs and be more discreet. READ  

Spanish Property of the Week
Spanish castle up for grabs for €3.5 million
The castle boasts four turrets, an old chapel, a well with natural spring water, a parade ground, and a dungeon. Photo: BNP Paribas Real Estate

Spanish castle up for grabs for €3.5 million

Very few homes are truly fit for a king or queen, but The Local's latest property of the week — a magnificent castle in Spain's beautiful Basque Country — is grand enough to make you feel like you're living in a real-life episode of Game of Thrones. READ  

Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law
The controversial draft bill angered thousands of pro-choicers who took to the streets to voice their discontent.Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Spain scraps plans for tough new abortion law

Updated: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday announced his government would shelve plans for a tough new law on abortions, saying there was not enough support for the legislation. READ  

James Blunt under fire for illegal Ibiza wedding
Blunt (R) and Sofia Wellesley, granddaughter of the Duke of Wellington, were celebrating their third wedding bash this September. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

James Blunt under fire for illegal Ibiza wedding

British pop star James Blunt has upset Ibiza locals after the company he paid to organize his recent wedding bash on the island closed off a beach without obtaining the necessary permits for the event. READ  

Uber row
Taxi app Uber kicks off Madrid operations
"The European Union tells countries like Spain to fight illegal economic activity but then allows the use of services of Uber. It doesn't make any sense," taxi driver Daniel told The Local. Photo: Ube

Taxi app Uber kicks off Madrid operations

The app-based chauffeur car service Uber began operations in Madrid on Tuesday but local taxi drivers told The Local they are far from happy about the move, claiming it promotes Spain's submerged economy. READ  

Sexism in tennis
'Men's dressing room no place for female coaches'
Rafa Nadal's coach and uncle Toni (L) and Spain's newly appointed Davis Cup captain Gala León. Photo: Martin Bureau,Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

'Men's dressing room no place for female coaches'

Rafa Nadal's uncle and coach has been slammed for calling into question the appointment of Spain's first female Davis Cup captain, a decision he considers illogical and inappropriate for the all-male dressing room. READ  

Barcelona to fight smog with cheaper train tickets
A blanket of pollution lies over Barcelona in December 2013. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Barcelona to fight smog with cheaper train tickets

Barcelona is planning to slash the price of travel on public transport during periods of high pollution in a bid to improve the city's air quality. READ  

Man stabs five strangers in horror knife attack

Man stabs five strangers in horror knife attack

Updated: Police in the Catalan town of Lleida have narrowed down their search area in a massive manhunt to find the person who stabbed five people on the street on Monday in what appears to have been a random attack. READ  

Catalan mayor charged over Russian mafia links
Xavier Crespo, a former politician with Catalonia's ruling CiU party, is now facing up to two and half years in prison for accepting bribes over a period of eight years. Photo: CiU

Catalan mayor charged over Russian mafia links

The former mayor of the Catalan town of Lloret de Mar is facing bribery and graft charges after the region's high court ruled there was strong evidence of a criminal link between him and Russian crime boss Andrei Borisovich Petrov. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
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
Society
Miss Spain comes out of closet on Instagram
Travel
Top ten: Spain's best natural swimming pools
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

1,703
jobs available