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King Juan Carlos of Spain to abdicate

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King Juan Carlos of Spain to abdicate
King Juan Carlos of Spain with Sofia. File Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP
10:35 CEST+02:00
In a shock announcement, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced at a special press conference that King Juan Carlos is to abdicate.

"His Majesty King Juan Carlos has just told me of his wish to renounce the throne and begin the succession process of succession," Rajoy said during the press conference.

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe is to take over the reins, he added.

The 76-year-old king who took the throne in 1975 was "convinced" of his decision, and would give his own reasons for this abdication, the Spanish Prime Minister said during the brief press conference. 

Rajoy described the king as the "best symbol of unity and peace" for the country, and said the abdication process would be carried "in the context of instutional stability".

The Spanish leader called an emergency press conference shortly before 10am on Monday, with immediate speculation in the Spanish press being that the annoucement concerned the position of King Juan Carlos.

VOX POP: The Local spoke to Spaniards on the street in 2013 about whether King Juan Carlos should abdicate 

Spain's monarch took power after the country had experienced nearly 40 years of dictatorship under Francisco Franco.

He won widespread respect for his role in restoring Spain's democracy during the so-called 'Transition' but a series of scandals have taken the shine of the country's royal family in recent times.
 
 
The king's youngest daughter Cristina and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin are embroiled in a long-running corruption case involving alleged embezzlement of €6 million ($8.3 million) in funds from a charitable sports foundation.
 

Tweet from Spain's Royal Palace announcing the abdication of King Juan Carlos.

The abdication of Juan Carlos is an extraordianary opportunity to give legitimacy to the throne through a democratic referendum, Ramón Lobo, veteran Spanish journalist with El País tweeted.

The resignation of the king will help the verb RESIGN become conjugated in Spain, Lobo also tweeted, a reference to the fact that very few Spanish public figures step down.   

Spain's online newspaper El Confidential said the king had resigned to save the monarchy from an institutional crisis:

More to follow 

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