The news broke on Monday morning and took everyone by surprise. King Juan Carlos I, Spain’s head of state since dictator Franco handed him the power in 1975, announced his abdication in favour of his son Felipe. Although the 76-years-old monarch was quite vague as to the motives of his stepping down, analysts pointed to a combination of factors: corruption scandals linked to the royal family and the king’s growing unpopularity; health problems; massive losses by Spain’s biggest political parties on last European election; and the pro-independence majority in Catalonia, among other causes.
Does this actually affect the ongoing events in Catalonia? Not according to the Catalan president, who very clearly stated that “there will be a change in king, but there won’t be a change in the political process that the people of Catalonia are following so that on November 9th we can decide with this degree of freedom, democracy, and above all peaceful spirit, our collective future.”
On the other hand, what is the prince’s attitude towards Catalonia? Nationalia analyses the relationship with a historical perspective:
Nationalia | Spain’s new king in the framework of Catalonia’s ongoing process: Felipe and the right to decide
New monarch said in 1990 that “Catalonia is what Catalans want it to be”, but in 2013 he argued that the “rules of the game” cannot be changed beyond the Constitution ” Earlier this year, Felipe de Borbón encouraged Catalans and Spaniards to “forge” together a “bright and promising future” · King Juan Carlos I abdicates while recalling that Spain is “a great nation” · Catalan President Mas says road to referendum on independence will not change
On the other hand, Vilaweb’s director Vicent Partal brilliantly interprets the news as a “grand operation to avoid Catalonia’s independence”:
Vilaweb | The big maneuver is underway
After the European elections and after seeing the results everyone knew something big was coming. And here it is […] A big “maneuver” is underway. Now they will coronate Felipe of Bourbon who will quickly make proposals and gestures to Catalonia. Gestures and proposals that will probably be accepted by the PP and PSOE, in an effort to avoid the independence of Catalonia by accepting a single, exceptional regime for Catalonia.
And finally, a few notes on the future monarch predecessor, Felipe V, who infamously abolished Catalan laws, culture and language in 1714: Help Catalonia | Catalonia and the House of Bourbon