Spain's monarchy in danger

Since former Spanish king Juan Carlos's departure rumours are rife that his son King Felipe VI forced him out of the royal palace. In a speech on Tuesday Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez praised the royal house for distancing itself from the ex-regent, but among Sánchez's left-wing coalition partners and on the streets, calls for the abolition of the monarchy are growing louder. Has the time come for this move?

Open/close all quotes
El Mundo (ES) /

The constitution must be amended

The future of the Spanish monarchy will not be determined solely by how Juan Carlos is treated, urges public prosecutor Elisa de la Nuez in El Mundo:

“Naturally, the decree that granted Juan Carlos I the honorary title of king (after his abdication) must be amended and this honour must be withdrawn. ... But perhaps the main priority is to modernise the rules that govern the institution. Above and beyond the title of king as head of state, the necessary guarantees should be added to the constitution to ensure that the office of the head of state, regardless of who currently holds it, functions efficiently, neutrally and professionally, with all the necessary counterbalances, appropriate transparency, accountability and above all a maximum degree of exemplary behaviour.”

Expresso (PT) /

Preserve unity as a republic

Expresso takes the view that the Spanish monarchy could soon become a republic:

“The pandemic has accelerated history and made credible scenarios that were previously just the wishful thinking of a few. ... The fragmentation of Spain into different nations is a plausible scenario, as is the fragmentation of another composite monarchy, the United Kingdom. Will there be a united Spain in the future? Or can Spanish unity only be maintained through a compromise: a change of regime and the transition from monarchy to republic?”

The Times (GB) /

A question of character

The lack of a unifying figure at the head of the Spanish monarchy could be its downfall, The Times believes:

“The latest scandals come at a time when the 1978 constitution has never been under greater strain as a result of Catalonia's campaign for independence, and domestic politics is deeply fragmented. ... In such febrile times, a constitutional monarchy can be a source of stability and focus for national unity. But as Britain's Queen has so often demonstrated, that stability stems not just from the constitutional arrangements but the character of the person occupying the throne. That's a lesson that Spain's monarchy forgets at its peril.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Europe more important than ever for Spaniards

The monarchy no longer has the power to unite Spainish society, the Tages-Anzeiger comments:

“In the first decades after the dictatorship, Spain lived quite well with this form of government that held the divided country together to some extent. But the centrifugal forces are getting stronger, and now the monarchy is more of a divisive force than a uniting one. ... Is Spain ready for a republic once more? In the 1930s, bitter conflicts between social forces led to the Spanish Civil War. And what would be gained by changing the system? More than this or that form of representative government, Spain's salvation lies in something else now, something more contemporary: the joint responsibility of the states of Europe under the EU. Only this can save it from the poverty that awaits it amid the repercussions of the corona crisis. The monarchy is really just an accessory in this context.”

ABC (ES) /

Get anti-monarchists out of government

The fact that Spain's socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is ruling in coalition with the left-wing party Unidas Podemos, which is officially calling for the abolition of the monarchy, is a thorn in the side of ABC:

“Our constitution is a model of coexistence and should not be jeopardised by parties that are minority forces in electoral terms. Sánchez's statement in defence of [the incumbent king] Felipe VI yesterday should not be just a pretence. He has a duty to examine his alliances with parties that have proposed abolishing the monarchy and its symbols.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Modernisation and stability thanks to Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos I's achievements of almost four decades are now being forgotten, journalist and writer Juan Luis Cebrián laments in La Repubblica:

“Post-Franco Spain could well have established a democratic state system without the crown. But the price to pay would have been higher and the path would have been more difficult. For decades the monarch's presence and bearing have proven crucial for the country's modernisation and political and social stability.”