This 2 June 2014 video is called Spain: Madrid’s anti-monarchists demand a new republic.
By Alejandro López in Spain:
4 June 2014
King Juan Carlos de Borbón announced on Monday that he was abdicating in favour of his son Felipe. Juan Carlos has reigned in Spain for 39 years, becoming head of state after the death of General Francisco Franco.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy explained 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.”
Hours later, the king explained in a televised address, “When I turned 76 last January, I felt that the time had come to prepare the handover to make way for someone who is in the best possible condition to maintain … stability.” This someone is his son, Felipe, Prince of Asturias.
The truth is that Felipe has been put on notice for years, ever since 2011 when the king was absent after a knee replacement. The media have ever since promoted Felipe, portraying him as a common man married to a middle-class woman.
Felipe will be crowned on June 18, amid the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, leading to a 56 percent youth jobless rate, 30 percent of children in poverty and one of the worst and growing levels of social inequality in Europe.
Added to this is the political crisis following the European elections. The two major parties that have imposed austerity measures, the ruling right-wing Popular Party (PP) and the opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), received their worst results since the first elections in post-Franco Spain in 1977. Their combined vote plummeted to less than 50 percent, compared to 80 percent in the 2009 European elections. Between them they lost over 5 million votes.
This is hardly a state of “complete normalcy”.
The monarchy too has seen its general support collapse. Nearly two thirds of the Spanish population were in favour of King Juan Carlos abdicating. One poll in the daily El Mundo showed that, for the first time, fewer than half of the Spanish people (49.9 percent) want Spain to remain a constitutional monarchy.
Juan Carlos owed his position as head of state to the fascist dictator, General Francisco Franco. His grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, was forced into exile following the start of the Spanish Revolution and the overthrow of the 1923-1930 dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, with which Alfonso was closely associated.
The Second Republic, proclaimed in 1931, introduced modest democratic measures. The Spanish ruling class reacted by conspiring to overthrow it, culminating in the July 18, 1936, coup d’état by Franco. The victorious fascist regime re-established the monarchy in Spain in 1947, and Franco appointed Juan Carlos as his heir apparent in 1969, closely supervising his training.
After Franco’s death in 1975, Juan Carlos was dubbed “Juan Carlos the Brief”—an allusion to the widely held belief that he would not last long on the throne. …
Within a few years of the transition, on February 23, 1981, sections of the military attempted a coup d’état, during which Congress and the cabinet were held hostage for 18 hours. It failed and the myth was propagated that Juan Carlos had personally intervened to prevent it and that he personally “brought democracy” to Spain.
The media has reacted furiously against anyone who has publicly questioned the official story. Journalist Pilar Urbano was castigated after she explained in her latest book that Adolfo Suárez, prime minister during the transition and the coup, suspected that the king was behind the plan for the 1981 coup.
El País wrote, “This campaign of smears and half-truths, breaking the most basic principles of journalism, has, to some extent, achieved its aim of sowing doubt in the minds of many people as to the role of the king in the 1981 coup. This comes precisely at a time when the monarchy is showing some signs of recovering its prestige, which has been dented in recent years by a number of scandals.”
The scandals to which El País referred to were the revelations in April 2012 of the king photographed in hunting gear beside an elephant he had shot on an €8,000-a-day safari trip in Botswana. It showed that not everyone was “pulling together” as a result of austerity, as claimed by the PP and the PSOE.
Along with this was the Nóos corruption case involving his daughter, Princess Cristina Federica de Borbón. Her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, is accused along with his former business partner, Diego Torres, of tax fraud and siphoning money into offshore bank accounts and family companies, including the real estate agency Aizoon, co-owned by his wife.Hours after Juan Carlos made his announcement, thousands protested against the monarchy in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Alicante, A Coruña and Vigo.
Spain’s supreme court to rule on former king’s paternity cases. The admissibility of two claims against Juan Carlos – that of a Spanish waiter and a Belgian woman – hang in the balance: here.
Spain is second only to Romania for levels of child poverty: here.