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Spain

Political pressure grows for King Felipe VI to criticise his father in his Christmas Eve speech

King Felipe VI of Spain
Image ©Licensed to i-Images/ Picture by i-Images / Pool

A spokesperson for the minority partner in Spain’s coalition government has told King Felipe that he must condemn the financial irregularities of his father, Juan Carlos, in his Christmas Eve speech as a ‘bare minimum’.

A representative of the left wing Unidas Podemos, which governs alongside the more moderate socialist PSOE, has said that unless the issue is addressed, the monarchy will have ‘lost its reason for being’.

The comments of Gerardo Pisarello follow days of pressure from his party on King Felipe to sanction Juan Carlos during this showpiece speech of the year. Felipe is due to speak to the Spanish people in his traditional address at 9pm, Madrid time, on Christmas Eve.

Gerardo Pisarello said that the speech needed to show the monarch’s backing for transparency. Addressing the ongoing controversy around the financial accusations surrounding King Juan Carlos, he said ”the minimum that the Spanish people expect from Felipe VI’s speech is that he condemns the irregularities attributed not only to the Emeritus King but to other members of the Royal Family and that he demands a thorough and complete investigation” . He added that the King of Spain should ”launch a clear message that…no member of the Royal Family receives privileged treatment.”

In the same comments, Gerardo Pisarello said that ”to be silent, to minimize what has happened or to pretend that nothing has happened this year would be a sign of weakness of the monarchy” and would show ”an institution incapable of connecting with the demands of part of the population”. In that instance, he said, the monarchy ”would have lost its reason for being.”

Unidas Podemos have long campaigned for the abolition of the monarchy and for Spain to become a republic. In recent days, the conservative Popular Party has accused the coalition government of trying to ‘hide’ King Felipe’s most recent visit to Barcelona to appease its separatist supporters in Catalonia.

Allegations of financial irregularity have followed King Juan Carlos for several years but have grown in the past twelve months. In March 2020, just before Spain entered lockdown, King Felipe VI renounced his personal inheritance from his father and cut the former monarch’s allowance. In early August, Juan Carlos went into self imposed exile. The man who ruled Spain for almost forty years had left before his departure was even announced and his whereabouts remained a mystery for two weeks until it was confirmed he had gone to the United Arab Emirates.

Royal Central will have full coverage of King Felipe VI’s speech on Christmas Eve.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.