Spanish monarchy under scrutiny in Catalan parliament

Lawmakers to discuss former king Juan Carlos’ exit from Spain amid corruption allegations

King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicates in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in 2014 (by Alvarado, Fernando / EFE)
King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicates in favor of his son, Felipe VI, in 2014 (by Alvarado, Fernando / EFE) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 7, 2020 10:28 AM

The Spanish monarchy came under the scrutiny of lawmakers in the Catalan parliament on Friday in the wake of former king Juan Carlos' exit from Spain amid corruption allegations.

"We must say enough. It's either a Catalan republic and independence or a Spanish monarchy and dependence," Catalan president Quim Torra said in his opening statement in parliament.

Friday's parliamentary session was called for by the Catalan president, who accused the Spanish government of colluding with the monarchy —now embodied by Juan Carlos' son, Felipe VI— to hamper judicial inquiries into the former king's finances. "It's a monumental scandal," said Torra.

Juan Carlos faces judicial inquiries for allegedly receiving payments from Saudi Arabia and committing tax fraud in Switzerland.

Pere Aragonès, the Catalan vice president, dismissed the Spanish monarchy as a "corrupt and antidemocratic" institution.   

In the past years, the Catalan parliament has already voted to demand a referendum on the Spanish monarchy and condemn King Felipe VI for a televised address following the Catalan independence referendum in 2017, when he made no mention to the hundreds of Catalans injured by police while defying Spain’s attempts to stop the vote.

Cs accuses Torra of ignoring home-grown corruption

Carlos Carrizosa, head of anti-independence center-right Ciudadanos, the main opposition party in the Catalan parliament, criticized Torra's focus on the Spanish monarchy's alleged misconduct and accused him of hiding "corruption at home behind a flag."

"Felipe VI is the current king. The monarchy should not pay for the king emeritus' mistakes," Carrizosa argued, highlighting what he considers the Catalan president's hypocrisy for calling for the king to step down while, according to him, taking no action against "his own" like-minded colleagues. 

Catalan Socialists: changing the political regime is "nonsense"

When it was Miquel Iceta's turn to speak in Parliament, the Catalan Socialist argued that although the former king's finances should be looked into, "Concluding that the political regime must change because of the former head of state's actions is nonsense."

Monarchy "attacked" the constitution, says En Comú Podem

According to Jèssica Albiach of CatECP, the Spanish monarchy "attacked" the constitution when the former king "robbed" all Spaniards and the current king "looked the other way instead of holding him accountable."

That said, she also asked the independence movement to not use "any excuse" to discredit the Spanish government and Podemos, although she did criticize the Socialists' handling of the affair. 

CUP denounces "state's omertà"

Far-left pro-independence CUP MP Natàlia Sànchez denounced what she describes as the "state's omertà" surrounding Juan Carlos' departure.

Sànchez also accused Unidas Podemos, the Socialists' coalition government partners in Spain, and their Catalan branch En Comú Podem of turning a blind eye to the Spanish government's role in the affair.

Esquerra: former king "on vacation" spending "everything he's stolen"

Sergi Sebrià, of Esquerra Republicana, spoke of how the former king of Spain was now "on vacation" spending "everything he has stolen" and urged all Catalans to seek republicanism as "the only answer to the political conflict."

Catalan People's Party calls for "harmony" among all Spaniards

Catalan People's Party's Alejandro Fernández called for "harmony" among all Spaniards as a response to former king Juan Carlos' departure from Spain this week in order to avoid stirring the "old ghosts" of "siblicide" found in the so-called "two Spains" of yore.

Spain cannot be reformed, argues JxCat

According to MP Albert Batet of Quim Torra's center-right pro-independence party, reforming the Spanish state is "impossible" and that although Juan Carlos I has left, "the corruption remains." If attempted, "we all know how that ends: rebellion, sedition, imprisonment, and police violence."