Former King of Spain Juan Carlos I and his son, current King Philip VI
Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I left the country amid a corruption scandal. The Spanish Prosecutor's office suspects him of embezzling tens of millions during the construction of the railway.
In 2014, for the same reason, he abdicated, but now the very future of the monarchy in Spain is in question, experts say. Where he is now is unknown.
Put son in jeopardy
Spanish King Juan Carlos I ruled Spain for 39 years вЂ” he ascended the throne immediately after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. He was perceived as the man who led the country to democracy in that difficult historical period. But by the end of the reign, the monarch began to make more and more controversial actions.
First, he was criticized because of his German mistress, Corinne Larsen, to whom the king gave very expensive gifts. Secondly, in 2012, the monarch went hunting elephants in Africa.
A new and perhaps the biggest scandal is related to the construction of a railway by Spanish companies in Saudi Arabia. In 2015, a case was opened about $100 million that ended up in the late noughties in the Swiss accounts of the mistress Fund.
She told police that the king received the money for helping Spanish companies sign a contract to build a high-speed railway in Saudi Arabia. In other words, we are talking about corruption. Larsen later denied the claim.
In 2018, the investigation was closed, because the whole story happened before the abdication of Juan Carlos вЂ” at a time when he enjoyed immunity. Now investigators are checking whether the former king violated the laws by using this money after giving up the throne.
Juan Carlos I himself assured that it will continue to be at the disposal of the Spanish Prosecutor's office. However, why in this case its location is covered with a secret is a question.
Despite the move of Juan Carlos, it will be quite difficult for the current monarch to shake off the influence of his father on his own reputation, the reputation of his family, and, in general, the entire institution of the monarchy.
As for the future of the monarchy, independent political analyst Vicente mayoral is skeptical. In an interview with DW, he stated that the current king Philip, by agreeing to his father's exile, not only jeopardized his own future but also worsened the situation of the monarchy as a whole.
First, he turned against himself a part of the population that considers the expulsion of the elderly Juan Carlos вЂњimmoralвЂќ. Secondly, his action has inspired supporters of the Republic, which, according to the political scientist, will now only strengthen attacks on the monarchy.
As for Juan Carlos, according to the political scientist, he has long secured his place in history.
вЂњAll this business with gifts will soon be forgotten. And the king will remain for the Spaniards not only the father of democracy but also a politician who managed to provide the country with stable political and socio-economic development during his 39-year reign, which, unfortunately, was replaced by a permanent stagnation and crisis after his departure,вЂќ the expert is sure.
Philip VI will have to show that under his rule there will be a rejection of the methods of Juan Carlos, says French historian Benoit Pellistrandi in an interview with Le Figaro.
вЂњThe Spanish monarchy is in great danger. It is opposed by left-wing radicals who want to arrange a review of the entire history of Spain, Catalan separatists, and a small part of the Spanish right. The usual supporters of the monarchy are the socialist party and the people's party, but today they only get 51 percent of the vote, вЂњ he says.
Note that last year's polls show that 62.3 percent of Spaniards believe that Spain should hold a referendum on the form of government. At the same time, the same number of citizens support the crown and oppose the monarchy вЂ” 47 percent each.
The Spanish Constitution, meanwhile, makes any threats to the monarchy virtually irrelevant. So, in order to hold a referendum, two-thirds of the members of the Spanish Congress and the Senate must vote for the corresponding proposal, after which the country's Parliament is dissolved.
Then two-thirds of the new members of both houses must also ratify the referendum proposal. Only then can it be presented to the Spanish public, which will finally decide the issue.