Opponents of the monarchy in Spain see with hope of the crisis of the crown, the rule of which the dictator Francisco Franco (1939-1975) had imposed on the country again. Preliminary highlight: On Monday evening a letter from the former King Juan Carlos I to his son and successor Felipe VI arrived. to the public. It says that he wants to go abroad “because of the public reverberation that certain events in my private life have caused in the past”. Several daily newspapers reported on Tuesday that Juan Carlos was in the Dominican Republic.
His lawyer said Juan Carlos would continue to work with the judiciary from there. Because the “events” cited relate to tangible scandals. The Spanish public prosecutor’s office is investigating the role of the 82-year-old in a suspected corruption affair. The monarch is said to have received millions in bribes for the Spanish railway company Renfe for awarding a multi-billion dollar contract to build the high-speed line between Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. However, the ex-king could be lucky, since in Spain he can only be prosecuted for crimes committed after his abdication in 2014.
Since the funds are said to have flowed into a Swiss account, the public prosecutor’s office of the Confederation also investigates. The Telegraph reported in mid-March that Juan Carlos founded a foundation under the Lucum name in Panama in 2008, whose bank account in Switzerland went to Abdulasis Al Saud, then King of Saudi Arabia.
Felipe VI. apparently leave the allegations against his father cold. Instead of criticism, he paid his predecessor “respect” and showed “gratitude” – probably primarily for leaving the best paid job for life. After the death of Franco in 1975, after which Juan Carlos was proclaimed king as requested by the former dictator, the wealth of the crown was still manageable, the monarch is now one of the richest men in Spain.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the Social Democratic PSOE said he had “respect” for Juan Carlos’ decision. The junior partner in the Madrid coalition government sees it differently: Vice Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias of the left-wing alliance “Unidas Podemos” wrote on Twitter: “If he respects the population and Spanish democracy, Juan Carlos I should stand up for his actions in Spain and in front of his people responsible. ”His party colleague, Minister of Equality Irene Montero, also assured in an interview with the radio station on Tuesday SER chain: “The flight of the king does not exactly help the institution of the monarchy to become more dignified.”
Even if the Spanish institute “Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas” has not determined the popularity of the crown among the population since 2015, it is unlikely to have increased in recent years. Since 2011, not even half of the Spaniards have spoken out in favor of the monarchy. Several surveys conducted by private institutions indicate the desire of the majority of people for a republic. The most recent one was expressed in Madrid in July, which took to the streets under the motto “Against the corrupt monarchy, for the Republic of the People”.