In Spain, a new debate about the monarchy has begun. On Friday this week, the Spanish far-left movement “Podemos” held a conference where they discussed the possibility of a referendum on the monarchy with an option to abolish it. The two-day-long conference was attended by 37 organizations, among them militant left-wing groups and parties.
The conference, “’Goodbye monarchy, hello democracy”, led to the pro-monarchy newspaper ABC publishing a statement in which their editor urged republicans to consider stability in Spain, saying “We do not need more instability in Spain”. The piece also referred to the ongoing crisis in Catalonia where protests continue following the indepedence referendum held in October 2018 which was declared illegal by the central government in Madrid.
Spain is currently in the midst of negotiations to form a new government following a recent general election which saw the PSOE, the socialist party led by Pedro Sanchez, win the most seats but not an overall majority. Several of the organisations who attended the conference are involved in some way in the ongoing discussions. Also involved in talks to form an administration are the far right Vox Party which recorded its best ever results in the recent poll. It has described itself as a ‘defender of the monarchy’ and condemned the conference.
The republican conference was held the same week that the Catalan Parliament voted once again against the monarchy and called for a debate over the establishment of a republic and Catalan independence. On Wednesday, the Catalan parliament in Barcelona voted in favour of the rejection of the Monarchy. The independence movement won the vote with 68 in favour while 21 voted against the republic.
This vote has no effect as Catalonia is currently under the direct control of Madrid.
Following the visit to Catalonia by the Spanish Royal Family earlier this month, an anti-monarchy protest erupted in Barcelona. More than 2000 people demonstrated amidst a strong police presence around the hotel and the Congress Centre. The protest turned violent and forced traffic to be stopped on several major roads. Some demonstrators also burned photos of King Felipe VI.
Recent polls have suggested a strengthening of support for the Spanish monarchy.