Yesterday, Casa Real released a letter King Juan Carlos sent to his son, King Felipe, in which he revealed that he would leave Spain to live abroad after a corruption scandal, involving claims he hid money that came to him via a rail contract in bank accounts in Switzerland, enveloped him in his country.
Spanish politicians and citizens have been reacting to the news that the former King who brought democracy back to Spain after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco was going into self-imposed exile.
The Izquierda Unida (IU) party has called for the return of a republic in the country, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, tweeted a message that called for the former monarch to be put on trial for the alleged financial irregularities and a referendum on the monarchy.
The Basque Nationalist Party said: “The departure from Spain of Juan Carlos de Borbón is an insufficient gesture and in no case can it mean that he should not be held accountable to the court for the allegedly criminal conduct that he could have incurred during his reign and after having abdicated.”
The spokesperson for Unidas Podemos in parliament, Pablo Echenique, called it a “national shame.”
The Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, Pablo Iglesias, said: “The flight abroad of Juan Carlos de Borbón is an unworthy attitude,” and added that the move “leaves the monarchy in a very compromised position.”
The President of the Government of Aragon, Javier Lambán, said that he hopes that the King’s move “definitively clears the future of the monarchy.”
Members of the People’s Party in Spain have tweeted their support for Juan Carlos while thanking him for what he has done for Spain. President of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, tweeted: “The Spaniards of today and future generations will never be able to thank enough for all that King Juan Carlos has done for Spain. Long live the King!”
Madrid’s mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, expressed support for King Felipe and stressed that people remember that Juan Carlos helped “to build the 40 years of freedom and democracy that we enjoy today.”
The President of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras, said: “No one can question the decisive role of the King Emeritus for democracy in Spain,” adding that “with his decision, he shows his commitment to this country and the parliamentary monarchy.” Miras also expressed his support for King Felipe.
Royal Central spoke to Spanish journalist, Andrea Mori, about the reaction in Spain and her thought on if the country is headed for a referendum on the monarchy.
“It has been an unexpected move from the former king. It was expected that some kind of move would come from the Royal Household, but we never thought Juan Carlos would take the initiative,” she explained. Mori said that reactions are mixed in the country with some happy that the King Emeritus left the country while others are upset because King Juan Carlos was instrumental in transitioning Spain from a dictatorship to a democracy.
Regarding if the country is headed for a referendum on the monarchy like some politicians are calling for, Mori doesn’t think it will happen because King Felipe is well-liked and a good leader while separating himself from his father.
Mori remarked: “I do not think it will lead to a referendum because King Felipe is doing a good job, taking distance from his father.”