Spain drafts constitutional law to facilitate royal succession

[JURIST] The Spanish government on Tuesday approved [press release] a draft constitutional law that will facilitate the abdication of King Juan Carlos I. Spain's Council of Ministers submitted the proposed law to parliament, requesting that the House and Senate vote quickly on whether to make the draft part of the constitution. The King had submitted official notice to Spain's president [official website] on Monday that he intended to step down from the throne. The notice referenced the constitutional provision that "abdications and renunciations and any doubt ... which may arise surrounding the succession of the Spanish throne will be resolved by a constitutional law." The king's son, Prince Felipe, is scheduled to be coronated on June 18. The government also released an official statement on the king's renunciation, expressing gratitude to the monarch and his wife, Queen Sofia, for their dedication to Spain and its people. It specifically mentioned the monarch's "drive, leadership and effort" in regard to Spain's transition to democracy and the enactment of its 1978 Constitution.

King Juan Carlos [BBC profile], on the throne since 1975, rejected the dictatorship of his predecessor, General Francisco Franco, and transitioned the country into a constitutional monarchy. He is best known for having paved the way [WSJ profile] to Spain's current democratic system [JURIST report], which effectively stripped the king and his successors of all executive power in favor of a secondary political status. Juan Carlos was instrumental in helping to thwart a 1981 military coup that sought to bring back a Franco-style regime. With close allies of the king having led the coup attempt along with more recent royal family scandals and national economic hardships, the king's popularity has been compromised over the past several decades. The 78-year-old king has also been struggling with declining health due to old age and deficits suffered from a number of personal accidents and surgeries. The king hopes that his son, 46-year-old Prince Felipe, can rehabilitate the scandal-ridden monarchy during this time of national economic strife and general dissatisfaction with Spain's political nobility.

 

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