Sunday, February 1, 2015   

Spanish king's abdication sparks anti-royalist fervour
(06-03 19:01)

Spanish King Juan Carlos' abdication revived anti-royalist fervour in the young democracy, sending thousands into the streets clamouring for a referendum on the monarchy itself.
Rather than hand over the 76-year-old monarch's throne to his more popular son, the future King Felipe VI, leftist political parties and anti-monarchist protesters demanded a vote on the survival of the institution.
Republican sentiment remains widespread in Spain, which only restored the monarchy in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco, who had ruled for four decades.
"I think the monarchy has the support of the great majority in Spain,'' Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said when asked about calls for a referendum on the future of the monarchy.
"Propose a constitutional reform if you don't like this constitution. You have the perfect right to do so. But what you cannot do in a democracy is bypass the law,'' Rajoy told a conference in Madrid.
Spain's 1978 constitution, which established a parliamentary democracy with the king as a mostly ceremonial head of state, was supported by a great majority in a referendum at the time, the prime minister said. --AFP   
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