• 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
Socialists lose support but still refuse to back Rajoy govt
"The 'no' to Mr Rajoy... has never been more justified," said Pedro Sanchez. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialist leader is standing by his refusal to let conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy form a new government.

The Local list
Ten facts you probably didn't know about Spanish wine
Spain is the biggest exporter of wine in the world. Photo: LexnGer/Flickr

As the wine harvest gets well underway across Spain, The Local celebrates the nation's favourite tipple with some little known facts.

Two jihadists held in Spain for plotting terrorist attacks
The men were inspired by Isis to plan the attacks. Photo: AFP

Spanish police have arrested two men accused of plotting to carry out an Isis-inspired attack in Europe.

Voter posts christening gift instead of ballot paper
He mistakenly handed in an envelope containing a christening gift. Photo: AFP

A voter from Galicia mistakenly posted a €200 christening gift in the ballot box instead of his voting slip.

Ex-IMF boss Rato goes on trial over bankers' luxury sprees
Rodrigo Rato pictured in April 2015. Photo: AFP

Former IMF chief and 64 other former bank executives go on trial for racking up huge expenses while in charge of a bailed out bank.

Spain's regional elections boost acting PM's party
Alberto Nuñez Feijoo leader of the PP in Galicia. Photo: AFP

Regional elections in Spain have strengthened acting Prime Minister's Mariano Rajoy's conservatives and weakened the Socialists.

'Sulking Ronaldo has to live with being subbed': Zidane
Ronaldo celebrates a goal before he was substituted in the game against Las Palmas. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after the Portuguese striker sulked off the field.

Basques and Galicians vote to unblock Spain's deadlock
Partido Popular candidate Alberto Nunez Feijoo voted in the election on Sunday. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Spain's Basque country and Galicia went to the polls Sunday in regional elections that may help unblock the long-lasting national political paralysis.

Feature
 Spanish cinema breaks taboo and talks Eta
A still from Justin Webster's documentary The End of ETA. Photo: The End of ETA

Documentaries on terror group Eta have been screened at San Sebastian film festival and met with applause, as the taboo fades.

 Spain's Socialists in crisis as political blockage takes toll
Pedro Sanchez has repeatedly said he won't support Rajoy. Photo: AFP

Spain's nine-month political paralysis is taking its toll on parties, and none more so than the Socialists who are facing a crisis, with talk of an imminent "coup" against leader Pedro Sanchez.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,098
jobs available