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Catalan parliament to debate former king's departure from Spain

President Torra hopes MPs will call for current monarch to abdicate

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05 August 2020 06:48 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

An extraordinary meeting of the Catalan parliament will take place on Friday following president Quim Torra's call for a debate on the Spanish monarchy.

With the royal household revealing on Monday that former king, Juan Carlos I – embroiled in a series of corruption scandals – has moved abroad, and suggestions that it was done with the knowledge of the Spanish government, Torra wants parliament to make a pronouncement on the crisis and call again for the abdication of the current king, Felipe VI, and the abolition of the monarchy.

According to various media reports, Juan Carlos I allegedly went to Galicia last weekend and from there traveled to Portugal and on to the Dominican Republic, although the royal family has not commented on his current whereabouts. Neither has Spanish President Pedro Sanchez, despite being repeatedly asked about the issue on Tuesday.

Former king 'not fleeing'

The first vice president of Sánchez's government, Carmen Calvo, has said that the king emeritus is not running away from anything. "He is not fleeing anything because he is not immersed in any [legal] case. He has simply decided to leave the country," she said at an event on Wednesday morning.

The Socialist Party member claimed that the Spanish executive found out about the letter "at the same time as everyone else, of course" and said the relationship between the current king and his father and predecessor "must be respected."

Young people will demand a republic

Meanwhile the second vice president, Pablo Iglesias, has said that a debate on the future of the monarchy has to happen. "Sooner or later young people will drive towards a republic in Spain," he said in an interview with broadcaster Telecinco on Tuesday evening.

The Podemos leader said that it has to be recognized that there is a debate in Spain on the "social usefulness of the monarchy," but he ruled out any short-term constitutional reform because of the current makeup of Spain's lower chamber.

Likening it to other social changes, such as same-sex marriage and the introduction of a targeted basic income, Iglesias said young people will demand a "republic that modernizes the country."

En Comú Podem

En Comú Podem, the Catalan electoral alliance that includes members of Iglesias' party, released a statement on Tuesday evening saying they would take part in the cases against Juan Carlos I "in order to be able to ensure the maximum procedural guarantees" of the legal process.

They are also demanding the withdrawal of the title of King Emeritus, a commission of inquiry into royal corruption, the decriminalization of criticism of the crown and, in the event that tax irregularities confirmed, money to be returned to the public purse.

Tortosa to withdraw award

The mayor of Tortosa, in the south of Catalonia, has announced that she will propose that the council withdraw the city's gold medal that was awarded to Juan Carlos I.

Meritxell Roigé hopes that the proposal will have the support of all political groups on the local council.

She stated that "the city's gold medal is one of the highest recognitions given by the council and the king emeritus does not deserve it." The medal was awarded to Juan Carlos I unanimously on June 10, 1996 and was presented to him ten days later during his visit to the town.

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  • Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I at the Zarzuela palace (REUTERS)

  • Former Spanish king Juan Carlos I at the Zarzuela palace (REUTERS)

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