King Juan Carlos abdicates

PM Mariano Rajoy makes surprise announcement that Spanish monarch will step down, paving way for Prince Felipe to take over as head of state

A file photo from April this year of King Juan Carlos. / GERARD JULIEN (AFP)

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called a surprise press conference on Monday morning to announce that King Juan Carlos has decided to abdicate in favor of his son Felipe.

The 76-year-old monarch will appear later on Monday to personally explain his decision, said Rajoy in a brief address.

“I have found the king convinced that this is the best moment for a change in the leadership of state with complete normalcy,” said Rajoy in a historical statement that had created great expectation in the media.

Juan Carlos’ son, who is 46, will reign as Felipe VI.

“Felipe’s training, character and broad experience are a solid guarantee that his work will live up to the highest expectations,” added Rajoy.

There had been some speculation in recent months over the possibility of an abdication, given Juan Carlos’ poor health and declining popularity ratings following a controversial hunting expedition in Botswana, among a series of other royal gaffes.

Felipe had been increasingly filling in for his father at official ceremonies abroad, such as the swearing-in of numerous Latin American dignitaries.

Juan Carlos will be remembered as a rallying figure who brought Spaniards together during the transitional period from Franco’s dictatorship to a new democracy.

The history books particularly underscore his role in the coup attempt of February 23, 1981, which he helped defuse by refusing to support the Civil Guard plotters.

“For 39 years he was the best symbol of our peaceful coexistence. His figure is so closely linked to democracy that one cannot be understood without the other,” said Rajoy. “He was Spain’s best spokesman and its best image in every corner of the planet. We will never be able to pay back our debt of gratitude to him.”

Follow EL PAÍS IN ENGLISH on Facebook and Twitter.

Y ADEMÁS...

Comentar Normas

Para poder comentar debes estar registrado en Eskup y haber iniciado sesión

Darse de alta ¿Por qué darse de alta?

Otras noticias

Últimas noticias

Ver todo el día

“Algunas de las ideas cruciales de la película partieron de Piglia”

Andrés Di Tella filmó en '327 cuadernos' la manera como el escritor argentino se enfrentó a la lectura de sus diarios

Bankinter paga 100 millones por el negocio de Barclays Portugal

El banco español hereda un millar de empleados, 84 oficinas y 185000 clientes

Argentina destituye al presidente de la filial HSBC

Alejandro Rebossio Buenos Aires

El Banco Central desplaza al ejecutivo por la ‘lista Falciani’; la patronal critica la medida

Lo más visto en...

» Top 50


Webs de PRISA

cerrar ventana